Representatives of state pollution control boards, urban local bodies and Institutes of Repute signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 132 identified cities on Friday to implement city-specific action plans under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
The NCAP is a long-term, time-bound, national level strategy to tackle air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner with targets to achieve 20-30 per cent reduction in particulate matter concentrations by 2024, with 2017 as base year.
Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar was also present during the signing of MoU. He said concerted efforts are required by state governments and all concerned for improving air quality in the country, and exhorted all to work in mission mode.
"Today's initiative is in line with the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of curbing air pollution by 20 per cent in the next 4 years in over 100 cities...It is not an easy task but a tough challenge which we all need to achieve together," Javadekar was quoted as saying in a release.
He also urged states to quickly procure e-buses sanctioned for public transport purpose under the FAME scheme. Despite allocation of funds for 6,000 e-buses to different cities across the country, only 600 buses have been procured and are operational, he said.
Under the NCAP, city action plans have been prepared to control specific air pollution sources through multidimensional actions by brining several implementation agencies together. Expansion of ambient air quality network, source apportionment studies, public awareness, grievance redressal mechanism and sector specific action points are part of the action plans.
For successful implementation of the action plan, there was a paramount need for cooperation and coordination among state agencies and technical supervision by expert Institutions of Repute. The MoU will facilitate smooth and binding execution of planned actions in time targeted manner, the release said.
"A National Knowledge Network comprising leading air quality specialists has also been constituted as a technical advisory group to support activities under NCAP and guide local Institutes of Repute in conducting air quality researches," it said.