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In Haryana, air quality slips to very poor, schools shut in 10 districts | Chandigarh News

Punjab Tuesday reported more 1,515 fresh stubble burning incidents while air quality in many parts in Haryana slipped into ‘severe’ and ‘very poor’ categories prompting the administration of at least 10 districts to shut their primary schools — government as well as primary — for the next few days. Haryana’s Hisar and Fatehabad have been put in the category of “severe” with their AQI at 403 and 421 respectively.

Fatehabad recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 421, followed by Hisar at 403 — both in severe category. Several other districts, including Jind (384), Sonipat (381), Kaithal (377), Faridabad (374), Gurugram (364), Bhiwani (361), Sirsa (334), Panipat (328) and Rohtak (326) recorded the “very poor” air quality. Only at three district headquarters—Ambala, Panchkula and Yamunanagar — the air quality was in the moderate category with AQI ranging from 101-200.

Meanwhile, the authorities ordered closure of primary schools in Panipat, Jhajjar, Jind, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Bhiwani, Nuh, Kaithal, Rohtak, and Charkhi Dadri till further orders.

An education department official told The Indian Express that the schools are likely to remain closed till Diwali (November 12). Also, as the air quality in Gurugram and Faridabad deteriorated, the Haryana transport commissioner banned the plying of BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel category of vehicles.

Gurugram DC Nishant Kumar Yadav said the Transport Commissioner has banned the use of four-wheeler light motor vehicles of Bharat Stage-III (petrol) and BS IV (diesel) category in Gurugram and Faridabad districts.

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“Compliance with these orders will be seriously ensured in the district. The residents of the district should also cooperate with the administration to control pollution. If anyone uses the above-mentioned category of vehicles in the district, then challan and legal action will be taken against him under Section 194 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. These orders have been implemented in the district with immediate effect and will remain in effect till November 30 or till stage III of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is lifted,” added DC Yadav.

Earlier in the day, Haryana State Pollution Control Board chairman P Raghavendra Rao held a video conference with deputy commissioners to review the compliance of restrictions and instructions under GRAP-4. He also asked the officers to keep a strict vigil to curb the incidents of stubble burning their districts.

On Tuesday, 26 incidents of stubble burning were reported from Haryana taking the total in the state to 1,605 (from September 15 to November 7) against 2,613 such cases in the corresponding period last year.

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In Punjab, the total number of farm fires increased to 20,978 with 1,515 such cases being reported on Tuesday, according to Ludhiana-based Punjab Remote Sensing Centre data. On the same day in 2021 and 2022, the state had seen 5,199 and 2,487 active fires, respectively.

In Punjab, Bathinda reported AQI at 343, followed by Mandi Gobindgarh at 299, Jalandhar 252, Patiala 250, Ludhiana 239, Amritsar 205 and Khanna 203. The Union Territory of Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, saw an AQI of 159.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

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