NMC spends small to combat air pollution despite having funds
   Date :19-Jun-2024

NMC spends small to combat air pollution 
By Kaushik Bhattacharya
Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) failed to utilise the funds provided by the Centre under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to improve the city’s air quality and its mitigation, revealed the Portal for Regulation of Air Pollution in Non-Attainment Cities (PRANA), Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Government of India. In last five years, Central Government released a total of Rs 142.1 crore to NMC for improvement of city’s air quality, of which only Rs 32.87 crore has been utilised so far by the civic body. According to PRANA, the city got a fund of Rs 9.45 crore as first installment in 2019-20. Thereafter, the civic body got Rs 66 crore in 2020-21, Rs 40.35 crore in 2021-22, and Rs 26.25 crore in 2022-23.
Whereas, the civic body utilised Rs 4.53 crore in 2021-22, Rs 27.35 crore in 2022-23, and Rs 1.1 crore in 2023-24.
Implementation of revised air action plan to control air pollution in city is going to be a lengthy process without proper utilisation of funds. Meanwhile, to improve the air quality, the civic body mentioned some short-term goals in its action plan including prevention of parked vehicles at non-designated areas and identification of areas where space for more parking is required and developing parking facility. This goal should have been achieved within two years by the NMC and the Traffic Department. However, the goal is still far from being achieved as the parking issue in the city is getting large day-by-day.
Despite all efforts, the civic body also failed to achieve the standard PM10 level in last five years. According to PRANA, the PM10 level of the city is constantly above the standard limit of 60 µg per actual m3 (µg/m3). Before implementation of NCAP, the PM10 concentration of Nagpur city was 100 µg/m3. Whereas, after its implementation, some improvement is visible but not up to the mark. In 2018 the PM10 level was 93 µg/m3, in 2019 PM10 was 80 µg/m3, in 2020 and 2021 the situation improved due to lockdown. In 2020, the PM10 was 68 µg/m3 and in 2021 it was same and close to the standard limit. In 2022, the PM10 level increased drastically by 97 µg/m3 and in 2023 it was 94 µg/m3. ‘The Hitavada’ tried to contact Municipal Commiss-ioner Dr Abhijeet Chaudhari and Superintending Engineer of NMC Shweta Banerjee. Both of them did not respond to the calls.