Delhi: AQI Deteriorates, Stage III Of GRAP Reimposed

Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index (AQI) suddenly and unexpectedly spiked and clocked 400 on Friday, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.

In view of the significant deterioration in the air quality of Delhi-NCR in the last 24 hours, the Sub-Committee for invoking actions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) met on Friday to review the situation.
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in a statement that during the meeting, the Sub-Committee Comprehensively reviewed the air quality scenario in the region as well as the forecasts for meteorological conditions and the air quality index of Delhi.

“While assessing the overall air quality parameters, the Sub-Committee noted that the air quality has suddenly and unexpectedly deteriorated owing to dense foggy conditions without much sunlight and very low temperatures, coupled with calm winds and stable atmospheric conditions over the last few hours. Further, there is an increasing trend in the overall AQI of Delhi in the coming days as per the Air Quality forecast of the India Meteorological Department (IMD)/Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. Therefore, it is considered necessary to re-impose Stage-III of GRAP with immediate effect in the entire NCR in an effort to steer clear of further deterioration of air quality in the region,” the Ministry.

Based on earlier decisions of the Sub-Committee on GRAP, actions up to Stage-I and Stage-II of the GRAP are already in force vide orders dated October 5, 2022, and October 19, 2022, respectively. Stage III and Stage IV of the GRAP have also been imposed and thereafter revoked from time to time based on the prevalent air quality scenario in Delhi.

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change further said in a statement that as per the dynamic model and weather/meteorological forecast, the average air quality of Delhi is likely to deteriorate further on Saturday and the overall AQI is expected to stay in the ‘Severe’ category.

Therefore, in an effort to prevent further deterioration of air quality in the region, the Sub-Committee decided that all actions as envisaged under Stage-III of GRAP – ‘Severe’ Air Quality (DELHI AQI ranging between 401-450), be implemented in right earnest by all the agencies concerned, with immediate effect in the entire NCR. This is in addition to the preventive/ restrictive actions already in force under Stage-I and Stage II of GRAP.

Accordingly, a nine-point action plan as per Stage III of GRAP is applicable with immediate effect from today in the entire NCR in addition to preventive/ restrictive actions under Stage-I and Stage II of GRAP which are already in place.

This nine-point action plan includes steps to be implemented and ensured by different agencies and Pollution Control Boards of NCR and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee. These steps intensified the frequency of mechanized and vacuum-based sweeping of roads.

Daily water sprinkling along with the use of dust suppressants, before peak traffic hours, on roads and right of ways including hotspots and heavy traffic corridors, and proper disposal of the collected dust in designated sites and landfills.

Intensification of public transport services. Introduce differential rates to encourage off-peak travel.

The Committee directed to enforce of a strict ban on construction and demolition activities in the entire NCR, except for the categories of projects including Railway services/ Railway stations, Metro Rail services including stations; airports and inter-state bus terminals; national security/defense-related activities/ projects of national importance; hospitals/ healthcare facilities; linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, over bridges, power transmission, pipelines, etc; sanitation projects like sewage treatment plants and water supply projects, etc; and ancillary activities specific to and supplementing above categories of projects.

Other than the projects exempted under dust generating/air pollution causing construction and demolition activities to be strictly banned during this period shall include earthwork for excavation and filling including boring and drilling works; all structural construction works including fabrication and welding operations; demolition works; loading and unloading of construction materials anywhere within or outside the project sites; transfer of raw materials either manually or through conveyor belts, including fly ash; movement of vehicles on unpaved roads; operation of batching plant; laying of sewer line, waterline, drainage work and electric cabling by open trench system; cutting and fixing of tiles, stones, and other flooring materials; grinding activities; piling work; waterproofing work; road construction/repair works including paving of sidewalks/pathways and central verges, etc.

All construction projects in NCR, non-polluting/non-dust generating activities such as plumbing works, interior decoration, electrical works, and carpentry-related works shall be permitted to be continued.

The Committee directed to ensure a strict ban on any industrial operation in NCR with fuels other than those listed in the approved fuel list for NCR.

Milk and dairy units and those involved in manufacturing life-saving medical equipment/devices, drugs, and medicines shall however be exempted from the restrictions.

The Committee directed the closure of brick kilns and hot mix plants which are not operating on fuels, as in the standard list of approved fuels for NCR.

It also directed to closing down operations of stone crushers. Further, mining and associated activities have been banned in the NCR.

State governments in NCR/GNCTD may impose restrictions on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel LMVs (4-wheelers), the Committee said.

Moreover, the Commission appealed to the citizens of NCR to cooperate in implementing GRAP and follow the steps mentioned in the Citizen Charter under GRAP. It advised citizens to share a ride to work or use public transport, walking or cycling.

The Committee advised people to work from home if their positions allow. It further appealed to people not to use coal and wood for heating purposes.

Further, all implementing agencies have been advised that actions under Stage ‘I’ and Stage ‘II’ of the GRAP are further intensified and special drives are conducted for the implementation of actions under Stage ‘III’, particularly restrictions related to construction and demolition activities, stone crushers and mining and associated activities. Regulatory actions need to be taken on industrial operations, brick kilns, and hot mix plants using unapproved fuels.

The Commission said it is closely watching the situation and will review the air quality scenario accordingly. (ANI)

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Delhi AQI 'Very Poor' Measuring At 322 | Lokmarg

Delhi AQI ‘Very Poor’ Measuring At 322

Delhi air stood at ‘very poor’ category on Sunday with Air Quality Index (AQI) reaching 322. The Air Quality of the national capital, which was at a moderate level for the last few days, stooped to a new low, over the weekend.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), Delhi’s air quality was recorded in the ‘very poor’ category on Sunday.
The air quality in the Delhi University area was recorded as ‘very poor’, with PM 2.5 at 333, whereas the AQI in Noida measured at 348. At Pusa, the AQI measured at 315.

Meanwhile, Lodhi Road and Mathura Road also experienced ‘very poor’ air quality with AQI at 306 and 390, respectively.

With AQI of most areas around the Delhi-NCR region measuring above 300, the AQI of Gurugram came in the ‘poor’ category at 266.

The Air Quality Index from 0 to 100 is considered as good, while from 100 to 200 it is moderate, from 200 to 300 it is poor, and from 300 to 400 it is said to be very poor and from 400 to 500 or above it is considered as severe.

Earlier, the air quality in Delhi was in the ‘moderate’ category, it deteriorated and reached the ‘very poor’ category.

The residents of the city have urged the government to take steps to control the ongoing menace of air pollution in the city. Some have even urged the government to bring back the odd-even rule in the city. “Air pollution is slightly less as compared to last year. The cold has also increased and the odd-even should be brought as soon as possible to curb the remaining air pollution,” said a resident. (ANI)

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Delhi AQI

Delhi Air Quality Dips To ‘Very Poor’ Category

The air quality in the national capital reached the ‘very poor’ category on Saturday morning with an index of ‘310’ recorded on the Air Quality meter after some relative respite to Delhiites for a few days.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), Delhi’s air quality was recorded in the ‘very poor’ category on Saturday.

In the Delhi University area, the air quality was recorded as ‘very poor’ with the presence of PM 2.5 in the air at 318, whereas the Pusa area recorded it at 314.

Noida, also saw the air quality in the ‘very poor’ category with the AQI at 386 today.

Meanwhile, Lodhi Road and Mathura Road also experienced ‘very poor’ air quality with AQI at 306 and 303, respectively.

The AQI at the Delhi Airport Terminal 3 was recorded as ‘poor’ at 266.

The Air Quality Index from 0 to 100 is considered as good, while from 100 to 200 it is moderate, from 200 to 300 it is poor, and from 300 to 400 it is said to be very poor and from 400 to 500 or above it is considered as severe.

Earlier, the air quality in Delhi was in the ‘moderate’ category, it deteriorated and reached the ‘very poor’ category.

Kuldeep Kumar, a resident of Mandir Marg said, “If you still go out in the morning, then there is a burning sensation in the eyes. Right now the level of pollution has come down a bit, but not much.”

“The government should do something about these 4-wheelers plying in the city. Today if there are four members in a house, all four have a 4-wheeler,” he added.

Another resident of the city urged the Delhi government to bring back the Odd-Even policy. “Air pollution is slightly less as compared to last year. The cold has also increased and the odd-even should be brought as soon as possible to curb the remaining air pollution,” he said. (ANI)

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Ban On Construction In Delhi

Govt Revokes Ban On Construction Activity In Delhi

The Union government panel that recommends steps to control pollution in the national capital region has revoked actions under the graded response action plan (GRAP) stage III with immediate effect, because of a noteworthy fall in pollution.

Stage III of GRAP means a ban on all construction activities except those of national importance.

The Sub-Committee for invoking actions under GRAP of the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) held a meeting today to review the situation and take the appropriate call in view of noteworthy improvement in the overall air quality of Delhi witnessed in the last few days with a fall of more than 100 points in the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) since the last invocation of Stage III of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) on December 4.

“While comprehensively reviewing the overall air quality parameters of Delhi-NCR, the Commission noted that due to forecasts by IMD/ IITM not indicating the overall AQI of Delhi to slip into the “Severe” category in the next few days and as it is likely to fluctuate between ‘Poor’ to ‘Very Poor’ category, it is advisable to relax the restrictions and further roll back Stage-III of the GRAP with immediate effect in the entire NCR,” the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in a statement.

The GRAP Sub-Committee in its earlier meetings had invoked actions under Stage-I, Stage-II, Stage-III, and Stage-IV of the GRAP in the entire NCR on October 5, October 19, October 29, and November 3 respectively.

Further, Sub-Committee in its review meeting revoked the actions under Stage-IV (‘Severe+’ Air Quality) of GRAP on December 6 and revoked Stage-III (‘Severe’ Air Quality) of GRAP on November 14 after considering the improvement in the air quality of Delhi and AQI forecasts of subsequent days.

Stage III of the GRAP was again invoked in the entire Delhi-NCR on December 4 after the sudden increase in the overall AQI of Delhi.

The Ministry further said that The Sub-Committee in its meeting today comprehensively reviewed the air quality scenario in the region as well as the IMD/IITM forecasts for meteorological conditions and the air quality index of Delhi and observed that the overall AQI of Delhi has been progressively improving with 407 recorded on December 4; 347 on December 5; 353 on December 6; and 304 recorded today which is below the threshold for invoking the GRAP Stage-III actions (Delhi AQI 401-450).

Further, the AQI is seeing a downward trend with favorable improvement in the average AQI as well. Preventive/ mitigative/ restrictive actions under all Stages up to Stage II are already underway and the forecasts by IMD/ IITM also do not indicate the AQI to fall in the ‘Severe’ category in the next few days.

Further, actions under Stage-I to Stage-II of the GRAP shall however remain invoked and be implemented, intensified, monitored, and reviewed by all agencies concerned in the entire NCR to ensure that the AQI levels do not slip further to the ‘Severe’ category.

All implementing agencies shall keep strict vigil and especially intensify measures under Stages I and II of GRAP which include the

Mechanical/vacuum-based sweeping of roads to be carried out on a daily basis.

Ensure water sprinkling along with the use of dust suppressants regularly on roads to arrest road dust, especially at hotspots, heavy traffic corridors, and vulnerable areas (before peak hours), and proper disposal of dust collected in designated sites/landfills.

Regular inspection and strict enforcement of dust control measures at Construction & Demolition (C&D) sites and enforcement of direction on the use of Ani-Smog guns.

Do not allow coal/firewood including in Tandoors in Hotels, Restaurants, and open eateries.

Ensure hotels, restaurants and open eateries use only electricity/ clean fuel gas-based appliances.

Enhance Parking fees to discourage private transport.

Regulated use of DG Sets except for the emergent and essential services.

C&D project sites and industrial units which have been issued specific closure orders on account of violations/ non-compliances with various statutory directions, rules, guidelines, etc. under no circumstances shall resume their operations without any specific order to this effect from the Commission.

Further, the Commission has once again appealed to the citizens of NCR to cooperate in implementing GRAP and follow the steps mentioned in the Citizen Charter under the GRAP.

Citizens are advised to use public transport and minimize the use of personal vehicles.

Regularly replace air filters at recommended intervals in your automobiles. Avoid dust-generating construction activities.

Various agencies responsible for implementing measures under GRAP and Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) of NCR and DPCC have also been advised to ensure strict implementation of actions of Stage I and Stage II under GRAP in the NCR.

Further, the Commission is closely watching the situation and will review the air quality scenario accordingly, the ministry statement read. (ANI)

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Delhi AQI

Delhi Suffers Another ‘Very Poor’ Air Day With 337 AQI

Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded on Tuesday at 337 by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

According to the SAFAR, Delhi’s air quality was recorded in the ‘very poor’ category on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, the national capital woke up to smog with the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded at 340 by SAFAR.

The Air Quality Index from 0 to 100 is considered as good, while from 100 to 200 it is moderate, from 200 to 300 it is poor, and from 300 to 400 it is said to be very poor and from 400 to 500 or above it is considered as severe.

Earlier on Sunday, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), a Union government panel recommending steps to control air pollution in the national capital, announced a temporary ban on construction and demolition activities in Delhi-NCR as part of its Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The announcement came after the air quality in Delhi and the national capital region breached the ‘severe’ category.

The CAQM, which on Sunday chaired a meeting to review the air quality in Delhi-NCR, put out a release saying, “As the AQI in Delhi has slipped into ‘severe’ category, the sub-committee had decided that all actions, as envisaged under Stage III of the GRAP, be implemented in right earnest by all the agencies concerned, with immediate effect in the NCR, in addition to all action under Stage I and Stage II of the GRAP.”

The panel had further observed that the air quality saw a further deterioration over the last 24 hours, with Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at 407 on December 4, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

In its order, the CAQM said it temporarily banned construction activities, “with the exception of Metro Rail services, including stations; airport and inter-state bus terminals; railway services/stations; national security/defence-related activities/ projects of national importance; hospitals/healthcare facilities; linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, overbridges, power transmission, pipelines; sanitation projects like sewage treatment plants and water supply projects; ancillary activities specific to and supplementing above categories of projects”.

Milk and dairy units and those involved in the manufacturing of life-saving medical equipment, drugs, and medicines, were also exempted from the restrictions stipulated in the CAQM order. (ANI)

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Delhi AQI 'Very Poor' Measuring At 322 | Lokmarg

CAQM Lifts Ban On Entry Of Heavy Vehicles To NCR As Air Quality Improves

In view of the improvement in the overall air quality of the Delhi-NCR in the past few days, a Central government panel revoked Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) stage 4, which means that there is no ban on entry of trucks and non-BS 6 diesel light motor vehicles are allowed. But ban on non-essential construction activities which come under GRAP-3 now in force would continue.

The GRAP is an emergency response action plan invoked with a view to arrest further deterioration of adverse air quality scenarios in NCR.
GRAP stage 3 still remains invoked. So, ban on construction and demolition activities in the entire NCR region except for railway services, metro rail services including stations and other essential activities will continue.

According to the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region (CAQM), “Under Stage III State Governments in NCR/ GNCTD may impose restrictions on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel LMVS (4 wheelers). Choose a cleaner commute — share a ride to work or use public transport or walk or cycle.”

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai will chair a meeting on Monday to discuss revoking of 50 per cent of work from home and re-opening primary schools after the orders issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region (CAQM) today.

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry in a statement said, “While comprehensively reviewing the overall air quality parameters of Delhi-NCR, the Commission noted that due to forecast by IMD/ IITM not indicating any steep degradation in the overall air quality of Delhi-NCR in the coming days, it is advisable to relax the restrictions and further roll back Stage IV of GRAP with immediate effect in the entire NCR”.

According to CAQM, the present AQI level of Delhi is around 339 which is about 111 AQI

points below the threshold for invoking the GRAP Stage-IV actions (Delhi AQI > 450) and preventive/ mitigative/ restrictive actions under all Stages up to Stage-IV are underway, there is a likelihood of sustaining the improvement in AQI. The forecast by IMD/ IITM also does not indicate any steep degradation further.

The forecasts also indicated a significant improvement around November 5 and November 6, 2022, therefore, the sub-Committee while invoking Stage IV of the GRAP, decided to review the situation on November 6, 2022. (ANI)

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Delhi AQI 'Very Poor' Measuring At 322 | Lokmarg

Air Pollution Causing More Harm Than Tobacco Smoke: Ex-AIIMS Director

Air pollution in India’s national capital and NCR region has been affecting the organs of the people, said former Director of AIIMS, Delhi Dr Randeep Guleria.

Dr Guleria, who is also HOD of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine and sleep disorders while speaking to ANI said, “it is causing more disability than even tobacco smoke. We talk a lot about smoking, but not about using tobacco. But now the burden of disability has shifted more towards air pollution and even that is causing a big problem than as compared to smoking.”
“So unfortunately the AQI is at severe range and we’ve seen that every year. There have been times when it went up to 900 in the last few years. The concern of course, is that it has a huge health impact. A paper published in 2017, suggested that in India every year, more than 1.24 million people die because of air pollution. So it’s huge mortality that we see it causes huge disability. Many people have a problem,” Dr Guleria further explained.

With the rise in air pollution people with asthmatic or bronchitis problems even shift to coastal areas to protect themselves from pollution. Dr Guleria said, “Many of our patients leave Delhi and go to the south or to the coastal areas, because they have worsening of the underlying COPD and asthma, if they stay in Delhi and have to be on oxygen or have to come repeatedly to the emergency.”

“The studies that we have been doing over the last few years have also shown that in children and adults, if you start looking at emergency room visits, there is a dramatic increase in emergency room visits for respiratory problems on day one and continuing for six days whenever AQI is in the poor or very poor or severe range in that area. So I think we have to understand that air pollution causes acute problems. It’s also causing long-term problems,” he said.

The doctor further added that there is data which suggests that heart disease strokes, low respiratory infections, COPD, or air pollution is causing more disability than even tobacco smoke.

Dr Guleria further emphasised that some practical solution is required. “So I think there is a need for everyone, policymakers, scientists, general public to come together to find a sustainable practical solution to the problem,” he said.

He further advised children and the elderly population as a precaution to avoid going outside, exercise and must wear an N95 mask.

“Children and elderly are at high risk of those who have underlying heart and lung disease, we usually advise that they should not go out in areas where AQI is high, we are able to monitor an AQI now in all areas, so they should look at the quality index in that area and avoid going out early in the morning or late in the evening because there tends to be more ground level pollution during this time,” he said.

Dr Guleria further added that when the sun is out and it’s a little hot because of the hot air, the pollution tends to rise up and if you have to go, you can go out during that time. One should wear a mask, especially an N95 mask that does help to some extent it’s not 100 per cent solution, but that can also be done and during times when there are high levels of air pollution exercise outside could also be avoided.” (ANI)

Winter drizzle improves Delhi-NCR air to 'poor'

The air quality of Delhi-NCR improved from “very poor” to “poor” on Tuesday even after 7.8 mm rainfall over past 24 hours, but is liken to worsen again, said officials. According to the officials, the reason for not enough improvement is only a slight dip in high level of pollutants already present in the air here, along with a hike in moisture and s drop in temperature. On Tuesday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi at 4 pm was 219 or “poor” against 361 or “very poor” on Monday at the same time. “There is improvement but not enough, as rains had reduced the density of effluents however the moisture content is high,” Shambhavi Shukla, a researcher at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and member of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority told IANS. According to experts, the mixing height of pollutants have increased a bit, which will however not help with improvement of air quality due to low wind speed and moisture levels. “This is certainly not a reason to celebrate.. the air quality is still poor,” Shukla added. According to the forecast received by EPCA from India Meteorological Department (IMD), the scope of considerable improvement in the region’s air quality are still low. On December 7, even as the drizzling was way too low compared to that between Monday and Tuesday, the AQI of the national capital improved to “moderate” from “very poor” earlier, due to the meteorological conditions. The most polluted regions across NCR, including Vasundhra in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, Anand Vihar in east Delhi, Sector 125 in Noida and Delhi Technical University (DTU) in north Delhi saw “very poor” air quality despite rains, with the major pollutants PM2.5 or particles with air with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers ranging between 123 to 194. This is four to seven times the safe limit as per international standards. The maximum temperature on Tuesday dropped to 21.7 degree Celsius, two notches below the season’s average, against 27.2 on Monday. However the minimum temperature increased to 13.8 degrees, five notches above the season’s average, against 8.2 degrees on Monday. According to IMD, the temperature drop is likely due to cumulative meteorological reasons. “Wednesday would see minimum temperature of about 10 degrees, while the maximum is likely to hover around 21 degrees,” an IMD official told IANS. The national capital saw low speed dry and cold north-westerly winds blowing at around 6 kmph, however despite this, humidity increased on Tuesday ranging between 71 to 100 percent. “There are no chances of rains in Delhi-NCR as of Tuesday night,” said IMD, adding that the high moisture would however lead to dense fog towards Wednesday morning. This is a reason that air pollution is most likely to shoot back, according to the monitoring agencies. According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), Delhi-NCR air quality is set to deteriorate from Wednesday onwards, with aggregate 91 (poor) PM2.5 levels on Tuesday to 118 units or “poor” on Wednesday and 127 units on Friday, considered “very poor”.

(IANS) // ]]>

It didn't last long: Delhi all smogged out again

The improvement in the air quality turned out to be short-lived as Delhi-NCR started inhaling toxins again with virtually no winds and cases of stubble burning in the national capital itself on Sunday.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi saw a considerable drop in the air quality, with Air Quality Index (AQI), recorded at 4 p.m on Sunday, reporting 377 or “very poor”, against 305 “very poor” on Saturday and 217 or “poor” on Friday. The AQI at Ghaziabad (448) and Noida (415) were back to severe after two days of a breather on Saturday and Friday. The level of major pollutant PM2.5, or particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, across Delhi-NCR at 6 p.m. was 241, while in Delhi alone, it was 237 units — about nine times the safe limit as per international standards. The air quality was placed “severe plus” at Anand Vihar (PM2.5 at 389) in east Delhi; Delhi Technical University (PM2.5 at 332) in north Delhi; Sector 125, Noida (304) and Vasundhara in Ghaziabad (367). Meanwhile, at R.K Puram in south Delhi, the air quality was severe with PM2.5 at 6 p.m. recorded at 271. The safe limit for PM2.5 according to the international standard is 25 microgrammes per cubic metre and 60 by national standards. Meanwhile, the satellite images from NASA showed spordic incidents of stubble burning in regions in Delhi itself as well as regions across Punjab, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Delhi saw no winds on Sunday, a possible reason for sudden increase in the pollutants. “There had been no wind in Delhi as observed during 2.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. on Sunday. The previous wind direction was southerly which is moist in nature, however at present with no winds. direction could not be assessed,” an IMD official told IANS.  
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