EPCA withdraws parking fee hike in Delhi

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Meanwhile, National Ambient Air Quality Index (NAAQI) has marked Delhi air quality relatively "good". Siri Fort was at 288, while Punjabi Bagh was at 290, both "very unhealthy", news agency ANI reported.

The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on Thursday withdrew the ban on construction activities, entry of trucks and enhanced parking fees from across Delhi-NCR as air quality remained out of the "emergency" category for the second straight day.

If external sources had not affected air quality, the average concentration of PM 2.5 would have been about 200 micrograms per cubic meter instead of 640 micrograms per cubic meter, says the study. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said that it would take up the matter on Friday and till then its order would be in force.

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The environment minister wrote to EPCA chairman Bhure Lal in this regard, as the Odd-Even scheme was to be implemented as an "emergency" measure under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), which has been prepared by the authority to tackle various levels of air pollution.

Concurring with the EPCA's announcement, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal gave his approval for withdrawal of the two pollution control measures. System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) has forecast poor air quality over the weekend due to moisture.

However, on Thursday till 11 a.m the Delhi's AQI was recorded as 345 which came under the very poor category.

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One of the reasons for Delhi smog is farmers burning the paddy stubble in the neighbouring states.

In the letter, the Delhi government had said: "Hiking the parking charges by DMRC would mean commuters who would otherwise park their vehicles in DMRC parking and use the Metro are likely to travel in their own vehicle". The prevailing situation though remains grim.

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