Row Over Delhi Smog Tower Closure, Gopal Rai Blames DPCC


(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) Closure of the 'Smog Tower' in Connaught Place has kicked up a controversy with Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai blaming the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and its Chairman Ashwani Kumar for it.

"In the last couple of days, Delhi witnessed a rapid rise in the pollution level. However, a marginal downfall has been recorded today. AQI was recorded at 407 at 10.30 a.m, it was over 450 yesterday," says Delhi minister Minister Gopal Rai, while pointing out that Ashwani Kumar, as the Chairman of DPCC, exercised his authority to halt the payment for the study of the smog tower, effectively leading to its shutdown.

"The Centre violated all rules and appointed Ashwini Kumar as DPCC chairman. As soon as he was appointed, he started working to shut down the smog tower (situated at Connaught Place)," Rai said.

Rai expressed his concern, saying, "Violating all traditions, the Central Government appointed Ashwani Kumar as the Chairman of DPCC (Delhi Pollution Control Committee).

Using his superpower, Kumar violated a Supreme Court order and stopped the payment for the study of the smog tower. Following this, the agencies stopped the study, and the smog tower was shut."

He clarified that the responsibility for the smog tower at Connaught Place (CP) was under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government, while the Centre and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) were responsible for another smog tower at Anand Vihar.

"The smog tower at CP (established in 2021) was operational, and the final report of the data collected was to come out after two years. In December, Ashwini Kumar became DPCC chairman. Soon after his appointment, he stopped the Real-time Source Apportionment study without informing the Delhi government. He also stopped payments to IIT-Bombay and other agencies who were working on the smog tower. Since then, the smog tower has stopped working," he said.

The controversy surrounding the closure of the 'Smog Tower' in Connaught Place has led to criticism from various quarters, raising questions about the decision-making process and its impact on environmental initiatives in the city.

--IANS

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