New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court will take up today the matter of extension of the odd-even road rationing scheme, which entered its final day on Friday. The exercise, aimed at controlling the alarming pollution levels in the national capital, kicked in on November 4 and is scheduled to end on November 15, if not extended.

Meanwhile, Delhi woke up to a thick blanket of smog for the fifth consecutive day with several areas crossing the ‘hazardous’ or ‘severe-plus’ levels of pollution. The air quality at Dwarka Sector 8 was recorded at 930, 808 in Narela, 757 in Ashok Vihar, 665 in Noida Sector 125 and 660 in Chanakyapuri.

The AQI in most of the areas in Ghaziabad and Noida remained in ‘severe’ category with schools in Delhi-NCR region remaining closed on Friday.

According to weather experts, the worsening situation continues due to the influence of a western disturbance, the reason behind the dense cloud cover and a dip in wind speed. However, wind speed is predicted to pick up on Saturday and a gradual decline in pollution is likely thereafter.

No decision was taken on Thursday on extension of the odd-even scheme. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier said the odd-even restrictions could be extended, if required.

Till Thursday, a total of 4,309 challans were issued against violators of the scheme, officials said. According to official data, 475 challans were issued by the teams of traffic police(276.), transport (139) and revenue (60) departments from 8 AM to 8 PM, when the restrictions were in force, on Thursday.

The Delhi government has claimed a high percentage of compliance of the scheme by motorists in the city. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said people were "religiously" following the odd-even rule.

The Delhi government blaming crop stubble burning in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana as the reason behind poor air quality in the national capital, has claimed that the odd-even scheme is one of the steps responsible for respite from the crisis.

Last week, the apex court had pulled up the Centre and state governments for their inability to curb stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana and bring air pollution in Delhi under control. It had asked the governments if they feel ashamed that people are no longer safe even in their houses.

It had also ordered that all farmers be given a Rs 100 per quintal incentive to prevent them from setting their fields on fire in preparation for the next crop, and provide them free machines to get rid of the agriculture residue.

The period between October 15 and November 15 is considered critical as maximum number of stubble burning incidents take place in this span in Punjab and adjoining states, which is one of the main reasons for alarming spike in pollution in Delhi-NCR.

Despite a ban on stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, farmers continue to defy it amid lack of financial incentives.

State governments are providing 50 to 80 per cent subsidy to farmers and cooperative societies to buy modern farm equipment for in-situ management of paddy straw, but farmers say use of machines increases the input cost manifold.

According to an affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan distributed around 63,000 machines to farmers during 2018-19. In 2019-20, as many as 46,000 machines have been distributed.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta