New Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal government is planning a spell of artificial rain in Delhi on November 20-21 to provide relief to residents gasping due to a sharp dip in air quality over the past one week. The air quality index in the national capital has remained in the ‘severe’ category for seven days in a row due to a combination of crop residue burning in neighbouring states and local factors such as vehicular emissions.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai and Finance Minister Atishi held a meeting with a team from IIT Kanpur, which proposed that a spell of artificial rain may help amid the air emergency in the national capital.
The Environment Minister has called a meeting of all Delhi ministers at 12.30 pm to discuss the air pollution issue.
The Delhi government has now asked the IIT team for a detailed plan. It will submit this plan in Supreme Court on Friday. The court is hearing a bunch of petitions seeking urgent steps to address Delhi’s toxic air days. If the Supreme Court gives a go-ahead, the Delhi government and the centre will take steps to implement the plan.
“The IIT team has said that a minimum of 40 per cent cloud cover is necessary to create artificial rain. There is a possibility of a cloud cover on November 20-21. They have told us that if we get permission to implement this plan, we can conduct a pilot study,” he said.
“During the hearing in Supreme Court on Friday, we will put forward this proposal so that the court can look into it. If the court gives a go-ahead, we will work with the centre to take necessary permissions,” he added.
The Supreme Court had earlier taken strong note of the pollution in Delhi and said it cannot allow a political battle to play out amid the “murder of people’s health”. The court had asked Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to stop stubble burning at once.
The court did not spare Delhi government either. “Delhi government also must be responsible. There are many buses running that pollute and run at half capacity. You have to attend to the problem,” it said.