The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas, has issued an order revoking the GRAP Stage IV. This order was issued on November 18, 2023.
It may be recalled that CAQM, through its recent order dated October 6, 2023, had announced the immediate implementation of the revised schedule of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) when invoked.
In prior meetings, the Sub-Committee responsible for invoking actions under the GRAP had enforced measures corresponding to different stages on October 6, October 21, November 2, and November 5, 2023, for Stage I, Stage II, Stage III, and Stage IV, respectively.
However, during its meeting on November 18, 2023, the Sub-Committee conducted a comprehensive review of the air quality situation in the region. Taking into account meteorological forecasts from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), as well as the air quality index (AQI) of Delhi, the Sub-Committee made several key observations:
- The GRAP is an emergency response action plan designed to halt further deterioration of adverse air quality in the NCR.
- Restrictions imposed under GRAP Stage-IV are highly disruptive and impact a broad range of stakeholders and the public at large.
- The GRAP Stage-IV actions were invoked on November 5, 2023, based on the AQI exceeding 450 (Severe +). However, as of 2:00 PM on November 20, 2023, the AQI in Delhi is around 322 (Very Poor), indicating a significant improvement.
Considering the current AQI level and ongoing preventive/mitigative/restrictive actions, the Sub-Committee sees a likelihood of sustaining the improvement in AQI. Additionally, forecasts from IMD/IITM do not suggest any steep degradation in the near future.
In light of these observations, the Sub-Committee has decided to revoke the GRAP Stage-IV actions that were issued on November 5, 2023, with immediate effect. Actions under Stages-I to Stage-III of the GRAP will, however, remain in place. All concerned agencies in the entire NCR are instructed to continue implementing, monitoring, and reviewing these actions to ensure that AQI levels do not deteriorate further into the ‘Severe’ or ‘Severe +’ category.
The Sub-Committee emphasizes its commitment to closely monitor the air quality scenario and reserves the right to take appropriate decisions based on real-time AQI data and forecasts from IMD/IITM. The collaborative effort aims to maintain and further improve the air quality in the NCR region.