Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that primary schools will be closed from Saturday in view of spike in pollution levels in the national capital.

Speaking at a press conference, he noted that outdoor sports activities for classes above fifth standard have also been suspended.

The city continued to reel under the eye-stinging pollution with air quality recorded in the "severe" category even on Friday.

"Primary classes will be closed from tomorrow and outdoor activities for classes above fifth standard will be suspended. We are also mulling over implementing the odd even scheme for plying of vehicles," he said.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had recently asked the Delhi government to shut schools till the city's air quality improves.

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In the wake of severe pollution in the national capital, many schools have taken several measures to protect children, including suspension of outdoor activities and introduction of breathing exercises in classes.

Many schools had on Thursday ruled out shutdown, saying it would disturb the pace of academic learning.

In nearby Noida and Greater Noida, the authorities had on Thursday instructed all schools to hold online classes for students up to class 8 till November 8 in view of increasing pollution in the National Capital Region.

The schools were also told to hold classes for students of class 9 to 12 online as far as possible, said the order issued by Gautam Buddh Nagar's District Inspector of Schools (DIOS) Dharmveer Singh.

Outdoor activities like sports or meetings are also banned in all schools, the order further stated.

Work from home

Alarmed by hazardous pollution levels in the city, Environment Minister Gopal Rai ordered 50 per cent staff of the Delhi government to work from home and said an advisory will be issued to private offices to follow suit.

He said the Delhi government has decided to implement the anti-pollution curbs recommended by the Commission for Air Quality Management, including a ban on non-BS VI diesel-run light motor vehicles.

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“At a meeting with departments concerned, it has been decided that 50 per cent staff of government offices will work from home from Monday and an advisory will be issued to private offices to follow suit,” Rai said.

In a bid to ramp up public transport, the government will also launch ‘Paryavaran Bus Service’ which will include 500 privately-run CNG buses.

Rai said a six-member team comprising senior officials has been set up to monitor the implementation of the curbs on anti-polluting activities.

Revenue commissioners have been asked to prepare a plan for staggered timings of markets and offices, he said.

He added that the government will implement the odd-even car rationing scheme if need arises and discussions on it are on.