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Stations for monitoring air quality yet to come up; funds released by GoI unspent  

Srinagar, Aug 1: Two years after New Delhi released the funds, the State Pollution Control Board is yet to set up the stations for monitoring the air quality in the city.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) sanctioned Continuous Automatic Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) under National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network two years ago for Srinagar in an attempt to fight air pollution.

At the time of sanctioning of the stations, the CPCB even released its 50% share—Rs 55 lakh—and asked the state to arrange the remaining 50% from its own resources.

An official of (State Pollution Control Board) SPCB said the board was told to set up stations in the “shortest possible time”, as pollution has increased over the years.

“The SPCB has failed to set up the stations, and the funds have remained unutilised. This facility would have also helped to provide information about real time and peak concentration levels of critical pollutants,” the official said.

Amidst the delay, the air pollution in the city has been rising due to, as per an SPCB official, vehicular population and factories.

“The concerned authorities like Srinagar Municipal Corporation has failed to take any measures like spraying water at the sites to prevent particulate matter from polluting the air,” the official said.

He said the suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respiratory suspended particulate matter (RSPM) have witnessed “a steep rise” over the years due to increasing number of vehicles, crushers, and factories.

In May this year, the World Health Organisation placed Srinagar at serial No 10 in the list of 15 worst-polluted cities.

Director SPCB, Syed Nadeem Qadri, said tenders floated by the board received a poor response from the bidders.

“We have sent requisition for re-tendering. We have also raised issue with the government for negotiations with bidding companies. Hopefully, it will be done in a few months,” he said.