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Delhi to reopen schools, offices on Nov 29 as air quality improves marginally

Schools, colleges and offices will re-open on November 29 in India’s national capital Delhi, the state’s environment said on Wednesday, as the city’s air quality showed signs of marginal improvement.

Gopal Rai also said that only CNG and electric vehicles, barring those engaged in essential services, will be allowed to enter Delhi from November 27.

The ban on the entry of vehicles operating on other fuels will remain till December 3, he said.

Rai urged government staff to use public transport.

“We hired private CNG buses recently. We have decided to use them to ferry employees from government residential colonies such as Gulabi Bagh and Nimri Colony,” he said.

The government will also start a shuttle bus service from the Delhi Secretariat to ITO and Indraprastha metro stations for its employees.

“The air quality has improved over the last three days. The city’s AQI is similar to pre-Diwali days,” he said.

Schools and other institutes have been shut since November 15 due to ‘severe’ air pollution levels.

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The Directorate of Education had earlier announced that schools, colleges as well as government offices will remain closed till further orders, adding that online education will continue in the meantime.

After nearly 19 months of closure due to the pandemic, Delhi schools reopened for all classes from November 1. But the city government on November 13 ordered the closure of all educational institutions and announced several others measures to combat air pollution and minimise its health effects.

Also read | Delhi’s air quality in ‘very poor’ category, says pollution board

The ban on construction and demolition activities was lifted on Monday in view of an improvement in the air quality and inconvenience caused to workers.

Meanwhile,  Delhi’s air quality slipped into the “very poor” category on Wednesday as low temperatures and slow surface winds allowed the accumulation of pollutants.

Strong winds on Sunday and Monday had led to an improvement in the air quality.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality monitor SAFAR said slow local surface winds will reduce dispersion of pollutants over the next three days, leading to deterioration in air quality.

A slight improvement is likely from November 27 with an increase in local surface wind speed.

(With inputs from agencies)

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