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Air quality monitor in Deoghar

Ranchi, July 4: Temple town, Deoghar, may soon boast an online ambient air monitoring unit as the Jharkhand State Pollution Control (JSPCB) has forwarded a proposal to its apex body located in New Delhi in this connection.

JSPCB chairman A.K. Mishra said he had written a formal letter to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) around a month ago and now was awaiting its reply.

Once in place, the monitoring unit will record and display various components, like sulphur, carbon dioxide, respirable suspended particles etc. on real time basis to keep tabs on the quality of air.

At the same time, the live feeds will reach the JSPCB head office in Ranchi in real time, on a daily basis, which will allow the regulator to issue directives to the local administration for corrective measures, if any.

“During review meetings, the proposal to set up an ambient air monitor in Deoghar was discussed. Once we get a go-ahead from CPCB, we will begin preliminary work like identifying a site, calculating the estimate and finding investors etc.,” the JSPCB chairman added.

Mishra said the project would require around Rs 2-3 crore, out of which the central pollution board would provide a certain amount depending on the proposal.

The funds, sources said, would not be any hurdle as a number of big industrial houses were active in the state and would be ready to fund the initiative under their corporate social responsibility.

On why the state pollution board is focusing on Deoghar, Mishra said as per CPCB’s guidelines, places of religious importance, which record heavy footfall, must have proper air monitoring machines.

Deoghar is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre and the biggest religious destination in Jharkhand. Lakhs of devotees arrive in Deoghar round the year to visit the Baidyanath Temple — one of the 12 Shiva Jyotirlingams and one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in the country. Last year, over 25 lakh people thronged the town during the month of Shravan celebrated between June and August.

Jamshedpur already has an air monitoring system and there is a proposal to install another one in the city. The existing one is installed at Tata Steel’s main gate and is exclusively for monitoring the air quality on the company premises. “Hence, we have proposed a second machine in Jamshedpur so that common people can also know about the quality of the air they inhale in the city. We are currently looking for an appropriate space. I hope that we will manage to set up the machine by later this year,” he said.

This apart, Dhanbad has already begun monitoring its air, while Hazaribagh is likely to follow suit soon.

The state’s first air monitoring system was installed on the premises of the state forest directorate in Doranda, Ranchi, last year. The gas analyser system, completed with a public display board, was set up in a partnership with Tata Steel.

While the JSPCB provided the space and a portion of the Rs 2 crore needed for the project, the steel major paid more than 50 per cent of the equipment cost under its corporate social responsibility.