NEW DELHI: The Indian capital will close all theatres by December 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday, as the nation seeks to curb air pollution from cars.
The announcement comes days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed the country’s first bill of rights for pollution control and emissions standards, which will come into effect by March 2021.
The measures will allow cities to restrict pollution from diesel and petrol vehicles, restrict diesel vehicles from city-bound areas and provide financial incentives for switching to electric vehicles.
The plan, hailed as a landmark, also comes at a critical time as India has been grappling with a spate of pollution disasters in recent months.
The prime minister also announced a new levy on petrol and diesel vehicles, a move which will increase the tax collected by the government and put the burden on polluters.
India’s government is aiming to collect an additional $5.7 billion annually from diesel vehicle excise duties by 2022.
The plan also aims to increase the amount of diesel-powered vehicles allowed on public transport by 10 per cent.
“I am committed to the reduction of pollution,” Modi said in a press conference.
“I am announcing this today to achieve it.
I want the entire nation to come together and reduce the pollution.”
The Prime Minister made the announcement at the launch of a new National Strategy for Clean Transport and Urbanisation (NSCU), aimed at reducing the air pollution and pollution-related deaths that the country has been suffering.
India’s pollution crisis has caused the death toll to rise to over 3,300, with more than 100,000 people reported to have died in the past five months.
In a bid to curb the worsening air quality, India has pledged to set up more than 600 power plants, increase its capacity for clean water and air quality monitoring, and introduce a system of air quality sensors.