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Nov 13, 2012 at 11:48am IST

Smog dims Delhi's Diwali, govt holds top-level meet

New Delhi: The air pollution in the national capital has reached alarming levels. The grey-white 'haze' that has been covering the city since October 28, say experts, is actually smog that is linked to the rapid rise in particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide levels. A high level meeting of three states Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh that was chaired by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in NCR has come up with an action plan to combat pollution. But are these enough?

"We discussed very openly over the smog condition in Delhi. We have to take short term and long term measures…will carry out campaign, we hope to give you less smoggy Delhi," said Dikshit.

The action plan to be implemented by all three states in the NCR includes:

- Monitoring of vehicles entering Delhi from five entry points

- Ban on polluting vehicles emitting black smoke from entering capital

- Punjab to notify restriction on burning of farm waste and make it an offence

- Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to submit a report on chimneys that are emitting black smoke in NCR

However, the environmentalists have suggested to the Delhi Chief Minister to look at restricting the use of vehicles if a serious dent on pollution is to be made. Delhi adds as many as 1000 vehicles to its roads every year, thus losing any benefits it may have from other measures like the Metro or introduction of non polluting fuels like CNG.

"The chief minister has made it clear that Delhi has to clean up its own act, only then we can give a moral lecture to other states," said Sunita Narain, an environmentalist.

Even as the northern India gears up for the Diwali festivities in this haze of smog, experts state its time for drastic decisions, such as a curb on number of vehicles on Delhi's roads and restrictions on the use of crackers, as only this will help people breathe easier.