Despite increasing pollution level, Admn fails to install CAAQMS in Jammu

Vikas Sharma
JAMMU, Mar 1: After lapse of more than three years, when the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station (CAAQMS) was installed at Srinagar in 2021, the authorities failed to install the same in Jammu region.
Due to the multiple reasons like burning of fuel and wood, brick kilns and industrialisation, the air in Jammu region is getting polluted on each passing day for the reason that Jammu lacks real time pollution data and administration is delaying its installation for the reasons best known to them.
According to sources, the installation of CAAQMS has been mandated in all the non-attainment cities across India including Jammu and Srinagar, but due to expensive cost of project, the concerned departments are delaying its installation in Jammu.
In the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar got its first real-time air-quality monitoring station with inauguration of first ever Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station (CAAQMS) in July 2021.
“After the installation, 19 Air Quality Monitoring-Manual Air Quality Monitoring Stations were set up in Srinagar for providing the real time updates. The data monitored by the CAAQMS installed at Rajbagh, Srinagar is displayed on the screen for information of the general public. Similarly, the air quality of 10 locations of Jammu City is being monitored and displayed through towers installed under Jammu Smart City Project at main crossings of Jammu city. However, citizens continue to face difficulties in obtaining real-time and archive data on air pollution, in the absence of CAAQMS,” they informed.
As per the analysis, one in five cities covered under India’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) does not have a CAAQMS, the 30 cities which do not have a CAAQMS include Jammu, Ranchi, Guntur, Nellore, Vadodara, Madurai and Raebareli, among others.
Talking to the Excelsior, CEO, Jammu Smart City, Rahul Yadav said, “Under the Smart City Project, installation of CAAQMS in Jammu was our responsibility and taking a step further, we had also floated the tenders but after getting a written order from the NGT, who restricted us not to use the funds released under NCAP for this purpose, the plan to install CAAQMS was abandoned.”
“Now, it’s the duty of SPCB to install CAAQMS in Jammu and they have to decide when and why they are delaying its installation,” he added.
Meanwhile, when contacted Chairman SPCB, Vasu Yadav, told the Excelsior, “The CAAQMS was first installed in Srinagar because the funds were already released under NCAP for that purpose. Now, we already have proposed the plan for installation in Jammu and are waiting to get the nod from the Ministry concerned. If they release the funds against our proposal, the CAAQMS will be installed in Jammu next year. Otherwise, we will arrange the funding on our own to install the project here.”
“Meanwhile, in Jammu city, we are monitoring the pollution level manually and in this regard we have installed towers at various locations including one at Vikram Chowk, Janipur Chowk, Narwal Chowk and Manda area,” he added.