Published: 03rd December 2021
Air quality panel shuts Delhi's educational institutions amidst severe pollution. Will they reopen only in 2022
Even as educational institutions have been barred from conducting in-person classes, the panel has made an exception by allowing on-campus exams and lab practicals
In a new set of directions to prevent further deterioration of the air quality in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), the Centre's air quality panel, on December 3, ordered the closure of all educational institutions for in-person classes. However, it has allowed institutions to hold on-campus exams and laboratory practicals. "All schools, colleges and educational institutions in the NCR shall remain closed, allowing only online mode of education, except for the purpose of conducting examinations and laboratory practicals,'' the Commission for Air Quality Management said.
"Strict enforcement of these directions as also the directions/orders issued by the commission from time to time since its inception shall be ensured by the respective agencies and implementation, compliance of the same shall be monitored by the chief secretaries of the respective state/Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi,” the commission's order stated. The CAQM, an executive body set up by the Ministry of Environment earlier this year to oversee measures to curb air pollution in the NCR, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, also constituted task forces for each of these states to implement, enforce, monitor and report compliance status of its orders.
In another related matter, the Supreme Court is also hearing a plea filed by a 17-year-old Delhi student in connection with severe pollution in the capital. Just a day earlier, the Court came down hard on the Delhi government for keeping the schools open amidst severe pollution — following which the Delhi government ordered schools in the national capital to be shut for in-person classes until the air quality improves.