New Delhi:Delhi's pollution levels worsened on Wednesday even as the air quality index remained in the 'poor' category, with a government agency forecasting improvement in the situation on Thursday with cleaner easterly wind coming in.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi's air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 268 on Wednesday morning. However, the data updated in the evening showed the average AQI of the past 24 hours at 256.

The figures are based on data collected from 34 monitoring stations in the city.

The 24-hour average AQI was 223 on Tuesday and 244 the day before. It was 254 on Sunday and 287 on Saturday.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.

However, the Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor, SAFAR, said the AQI has deteriorated to the lower end of 'very poor' category.

"Delhi's overall Air Quality Index (AQI) has marginally deteriorated and is in the lower end of the 'very poor' category as of Wednesday morning. It is being forecast that the air quality may improve by tomorrow and be in 'poor' category due to cleaner easterly wind intrusion," SAFAR said.

It said the AQI will be in the 'poor' category in the coming days.

The SAFAR synergised stubble burning fire counts around Haryana, Punjab and neighbouring regions stood at 849 for Tuesday.

The share of stubble burning in Delhi's PM 2.5 pollution stood at 15 per cent on Wednesday, the agency said adding it is likely to reduce on Thursday owing to expected change in wind direction.

The Delhi government has kickstarted its 'Red Light On, Gaadi Off' anti-pollution campaign for which it has deployed 2,500 environment marshals at 100 traffic signals across the city to generate awareness and curb vehicular pollution.

The drive will go on till November 15 from 8 am to 8 pm. It is an awareness drive by the Delhi government and no person will be issued challans, the government had said.

 

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Bengaluru,Jul 31: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday said he is likely to get a message from the BJP high command on cabinet expansion in a couple of days and will have to leave for New Delhi once again to finalise it.

"I couldn't meet J P Nadda (BJP National President) today, but had met him yesterday.

Most likely they will send a message to me in two days and I'll have to go to Delhi once again.

We will finalise the cabinet," Bommai said.

Asked whether the cabinet expansion will take place in two stages, he told reporters here on his arrival from Delhi that it cannot be revealed now.

Bommai was on a two-day visit to Delhi during which he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Nadda, a host of central Ministers, MPs and Ministers from Karnataka, among others.

Ministerial aspirants, meanwhile, have continued lobbying to secure a berth in the new cabinet.

While several legislators, including some former Ministers, are camping in Delhi and are lobbying to make it to the new cabinet, some have openly expressed their aspirations to become Ministers.

According to party sources, some legislators like Ramesh Jarkiholi, M P Renukacharya and Munirathna have met former Chief Minister and BJP veteran B S Yediyurappa at his residence here.

Demanding a Ministerial post, Haveri MLA Neharu Olekar said he should be given an opportunity in the new cabinet and it is the wish of party workers from the constituency, who have even staged a demonstration.

"Our fight will not end. This is the third time and I should be given the opportunity... I'm confident that the leaders will bless me.

No opportunity has been given so far to anyone from the Chalawadi community by BJP,while Congress has given...so there is the fear of them shifting towards Congress," he said.

Senior BJP leader and former Minister K S Eshwarappa said he has been getting several calls stating that he should have been made the Chief Minister after Yediyurappa was removed and at least he should be made Deputy Chief Minister now.

"It is for the high command to decide," he said.

Stating that cabinet formation is left to the discretion of the Chief Minister, another senior leader and former Minister V Somanna said Basavaraj Bommai is close to him and has experience.

"His father was also a CM, and will choose his cabinet ministers."

Downplaying reports of a rift between him and another senior BJP leader R Ashoka, he said "it is an internal matter between us. It is an old issue and has nothing to do with cabinet formation or becoming a Minister.

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah urged that the cabinet be formed at the earliest, as the CM alone cannot handle things

Meanwhile officials have to be instructed to take measures to manage flood and the COVID situation, he said.

"I don't think he (CM) discussed cabinet expansion during his Delhi visit. Maybe he may go once again...but he should have discussed it and finalised, given the current situation," he said.

Bommai, who was elected as the new leader of the BJP legislature party on Tuesday following Yediyurappa's resignation, took oath as the Chief Minister on Wednesday.

Expanding the Ministry will be the first big challenge before the new Chief Minister as he will have to navigate through the cabinet formation exercise by maintaining a balance between factions within the ruling BJP.

There are several aspirants among the party old guard and youngsters. There are also legislators who had joined the BJP after quitting Congress-JD(S) coalition in 2019.