Authorities ordered on Friday a ban on overnight construction work in the National Capital Region (NCR) because Authorities on Friday sounded a high alert on air pollution in Delhi-NCR ahead of Diwali. "All implementing agencies to be on high alert and strictly enforce law for...checking stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana," stated the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
EPCA said construction activities will get banned between 6 pm and 6 am from October 26 to 30. The moves come at a time when farm fires appeared to have been raging at the same frequency as last year, according to an analysis of data from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) satellites, and weather conditions expected to exacerbate local pollution.
Farm fires in Punjab, Haryana and some parts of Uttar Pradesh are common during a 30-day window that begins in mid-October. Farmers set fire to stubble left behind after harvesting paddy in order to clear fields before sowing winter crops. On Friday, the Prime Minister’s Office asked Punjab and Haryana “to use every resource available so that stubble burning could bring down”.
According to an analysis of data from Nasa’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), there were 5,414 fires spotted in Punjab and Haryana between October 18 and 24 – slightly higher than the 5,228 seen in the same period last year.