New Delhi: The one thing which is a major cause of worry for the residents of Delhi-NCR is the quality of air they are breathing. It has become a major health issue for the residents and visitors.
However, IIT Delhi is poised to make a contribution to government plans for improving the ambient and indoor air quality in Delhi, through an initiative taken by its alumnus Mr. Arun Duggal with the support of faculty and students at IIT Delhi.
Mr. Duggal has pledged a financial support of about Rs 5 Cr for the establishment of the Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA) at IIT Delhi. The CERCA was inaugurated on 16 February 2018 by the Lt Governor of Delhi Shri Anil Baijal.
Mr. Duggal, who received his B. Tech degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Delhi in the year 1967, while speaking about CERCA said: “IITD has an opportunity, to assist the policy makers in Government dealing with Air Quality issues by providing scientific information and objective feedback on various pollution control measures.”
Speaking about Mr. Arun Duggal’s initiative, Prof V Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi, said: “IIT Delhi has taken many steps to address the air quality problems in Delhi. One of them is to understand the sources of air pollution through systematic data generation and validation. Then comes the technological and policy interventions to address these sources of pollution, whether it is for the paddy straw burning issue in neighboring states or addressing the vehicular pollution levels in Delhi. Through the efforts of Mr. Duggal and the institute, we also are able to put a team together and connect them with the key government agencies.”
Prof B R Mehta, Dean, Research & Development, said: “Research in clean air is of high priority and IITD has contributed Rs 10 crore as a grant for a grand challenge Project.”
Prof Sanjeev Sanghi, Dean, Alumni Affairs, said: “Initiation of such an activity by an alumnus is really appreciated by the institution. An alumnus who comes back to his alma mater and asks it to work on problems affecting the day to day life of ordinary citizens shows the trust he has in its alma mater to play a leading role for the society’s benefit. Surely, we at IITD must be doing something right.”
Ambient Air Quality Outlook for Delhi-NCR
CERCA’s Annual Review Report 2018 projects the long term (up to 2030) outlook for Air Quality (PM2.5) for Delhi/NCR under current pollution abatement measures and proposes additional measures, which are achievable, actionable and aspirational. These measures could bring down average annual PM2.5 from current level of 120 μg/ m3 in 2017 to 36 μg/ m3 by 2030 (cerca.iitd.ac.in).
In order to improve the air quality in Delhi NCR, additional stringent measures are required in all the sectors, in addition to the already planned strategies. These include substantial investments in renewable energy, electric mobility, public transportation, particularly electric buses, expanded use of gas for power generation and industry including brick kilns, etc.
IIT Delhi is in the process of installing sophisticated BAM (Beta Attenuation Monitoring) air quality measuring equipment for continuous monitoring of ambient air quality in IIT Campus. This will enable further research on air quality as well as for calibrating of other air quality monitoring equipment.
CERCA had organised its Annual Flagship Conference “Towards Clean Air in Delhi/NCR” on 20th December 2018 at IIT Delhi. The Conference was inaugurated by Shri S.P Singh Parihar, Chairman CPCB.
During the conference, Mr. Arun Duggal, had formally launched a weekly newsletter that aims to reach scientific community engaged in clean air research, policy makers involved in air pollution abatement, business community, educational institutes, colleges, schools and citizens to provide latest information on air quality.
CERCA has already funded three projects at IIT Delhi to explore new domains of air quality improvements strategies. Prof Mukesh Khare is the Faculty Coordinator and Prof Nomesh Bolia, Faculty Co-Coordinator of CERCA.
More about IIT Delhi alumnus Mr. Arun Duggal
Mr. Arun Duggal is Chairman and Director of companies in India and has been on the Board of Directors of the companies in Korea, Australia, Singapore, London and South Africa.
He had a 26 years’ career with Bank of America, mostly in the U.S., Hong Kong and Japan.
Mr. Duggal is a Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad where he teaches a course on Venture Capital and Private Equity. He was Chairman of American Chamber of Commerce, India.
He is founder of Women on Corporate Boards program in India under which high potential women are mentored individually by Corporate Leaders to prepare them for Board careers. Women from this program, which is now managed by FICCI, are serving on over 200 corporate Board positions.