Extending initial financial support to cities under its National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), the Centre has started funding 102 cities with 28 million plus cities among them, including Mumbai, Kanpur, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Varanasi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Patna, getting Rs 10 crore each for capacity building activities.
“Eighty of these 102 non-attainment cities have already prepared their city-centric action plans. The Centre is funding them so that these identified cities can take pollution abatement measures on the ground,” said Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar.
Overall cost of air pollution abatement measures in 102 cities will, however, be much more than what the Centre will provide. An official explained that such financial assistance is in addition to what are being done, worth thousands of crores of rupees, in different sectors (transport, highways, forests and renewable among others) across the country to reduce carbon emission.
The non-attainment cities, listed for multiple actions under NCAP, are those which did not meet the ambient air quality standard during 2011-15.
The 28 million plus cities, identified for funding of higher amount, are those which had reported high pollution level – more than 90 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) of PM10 (particulate matter). The other cities in this group include Raipur, Vijaywada, Surat, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Bhubaneswar, Agra, Allahabad, Nagpur and Pune among others.
Among remaining 74 non-attainment cities, the ones having population of 5 to 10 lakhs will get Rs 20 lakh each while the cities with population of less than 5 lakh will get Rs 10 lakh each as an initial amount.
“This financial year, the ministry has got an additional amount of Rs 460 crore with introduction of a separate head – Control of Pollution – under the budget,” said Javadekar while sharing budgetary provisions of his ministry in 2019-20. He noted that the ministry was allocated Rs 3,175 crore for 2019-20 as compared to Rs 2,683 crore in last fiscal – an increase of 16%.
Javadekar said, “The budget 2019-20 has declared the intention of making ‘Earth Green and Sky Blue’. This will be achieved through more afforestation and making cities pollution free”.
The Centre had launched the pan-India air pollution abatement scheme for 102 cities by formally unveiling details of its pollution reduction target and strategies in January. It had set a mid-term (five-year) target to reduce air pollution by 20-30% by 2024, taking 2017 as base year.
The ‘control of pollution’ has been conceptualised to provide financial assistance to pollution control boards, funding to NCAP and other schemes such as National Water Monitoring Programme and National Ambient Noise Monitoring Network among others.
Source: Times of India