Decision on shutting Delhi schools by this evening: Manish Sisodia

New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked his deputy Manish Sisodia today to consider shutting schools for a few days in view of the high pollution in the city, prompting him to convene a meeting of officials of education, health and environment departments.

Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s education minister, has directed the environment department to submit a report on the city’s pollution level by this evening.

He said that the Delhi government would take a final decision on the closure of schools and introduction of the odd-even car rationing scheme after examining the report.

The chief minister will chair the meeting.

Kejriwal has also sought an appointment with Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan to discuss the alarming situation, he said.

Delhi woke up to ‘severe’ air quality with a thick haze blanketing the city as pollution levels breached permissible standards by multiple times.

“Hv called a meeting at 5.30pm with Edu, Health & Env Dept with today’s pollution data and all relevant studies (sic),” Sisodia tweeted.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and will take a final decision on it once the report comes. The Delhi government has requested the Centre several times to intervene in the issue of crop burning in neighbouring states but the central government has not responded yet,” he told reporters.

Earlier today, the chief minister tweeted, “Considering high level of pollution, I have requested Manish Sisodia, Education Minister, to consider closing schools for few days.”

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also appealed to the Delhi government to shut down outdoor sports and other such activities in schools keeping in view the harmful impact of air pollution on the health of the children.

The rapid fall in air quality and visibility began last evening as moisture combined with pollutants shrouded the city in a thick cover of haze.

By 10 am today, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded ‘severe’ air quality, meaning the intensity of pollution was extreme.