NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced various emergency measures, including closure of schools and colleges for a week, ban on construction activities and work from home for government employees, to deal with the pollution crisis faced by the city.

The chief minister, after an emergency meeting, told reporters that his government will also present a proposal for lockdown before the Supreme Court.

Terming the rise in air pollution in Delhi-NCR an “emergency” situation, the Supreme Court asked the Centre and the Delhi government on Saturday to take immediate measures to improve the air quality and suggested steps such as stopping vehicles and clamping a lockdown in the national capital.

Kejriwal said the schools will remain closed for one week from Monday in view of high air pollution levels. Work from home will be implemented concerning government offices and a separate advisory on it will be issued for private offices, he said.

The government offices will follow work from home for one week, according to a Delhi government statement.

Construction activities will be prohibited in Delhi from November 14 to 17.

The chief minister said that pollution level is rising in Delhi due to stubble burning in neighbouring states and called upon all stakeholders to work together to combat it.

The pollution level has gone up in the past few days. Data shows the air was clean with the air quality index below 100 till September 30, but it has been increasing afterwards continuously due to crop residue burning in neighbouring states, Kejriwal said.

“This is not the time to point finger. The Delhi government only wants to provide relief to Delhiites and children from emergency-like situation and ensure they breath fresh air,” he said.

The government is closing down schools from Monday for one week so that children don’t have to venture out of their homes and breath polluted air, he said.

Schools will be closed physically although virtual classes will continue.

In a tweet later, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “All schools, colleges and educational institutes in Delhi to remain shut next week as pollution levels hit emergency level.”

He said the Delhi government is not imposing lockdown but it will submit a proposal in the Supreme Court after taking the central government into confidence and consulting all central agencies as it will be an extreme step.

The chief minister said all the stakeholders should work together to combat the problem of air pollution in Delhi.



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