IIT-K submits proposal to Delhi govt. on real-time pollution study

It follows move to terminate Washington University’s study

IIT-Kanpur has submitted a proposal to the Delhi government for conducting a study to find what exactly are the sources of pollutants in the city’s air on a real time basis, a Delhi government official told The Hindu.

The move follows a decision by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to “terminate” the same study, which was being done by University of Washington in St. Louis for the Delhi government, in December.

Cost of project

“According to the proposal, the new study will cost about ₹11 crore. An expert committee will examine the proposal and, if found feasible, then the study will be allotted to IIT-Kanpur on nomination basis without a tender. The decision will be taken by the Cabinet,” the official said.

The proposed study is different from the earlier one as a whole team will be working on the new one. Also, a “super monitoring site”, a tall structure with sensors, will be set up by IIT-Kanpur, as part of the study, according to officials.

“IIT-Kanpur will analyse the data and create an algorithm which will give what are sources of pollution on a real-time basis,” the official added. As per the proposal, it will take 18 months to complete the study once approved.

The study is important since what causes pollution in the city has been a matter of constant debate between the city and the Central government.

The Delhi government has been stating that stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana is the major cause of air pollution in Delhi during the winter.

On the other hand, the Centre has multiple times pointed out that local pollutants in the city are also a main reason.

In 2018, the Delhi Cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had approved a proposal for the study by University of Washington in St. Louis.

The university went ahead with the study and the government paid them more than ₹50 lakh. However, a three-member committee appointed by the Delhi government raised red flags about the study in October and November.

Later, a decision was taken in December to cancel it and find a new agency to do the study.

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