NEW DELHI- India's capital New Delhi has ordered the closure of schools and colleges until further notice from Friday after the Supreme Court criticised the city government for reopening educational institutions despite "very poor" air quality.
The city government last week decided to reopen schools and colleges after closing them for nearly 15 days due to a spike in air pollution.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court, which is hearing a public petition over the government's inability to cut air pollution, expressed its dismay over the government's decision to reopen schools and colleges.
A ban on construction and the entry of diesel trucks with non-essential goods would continue, Gopal Rai, the capital's Minister for Environment, Forest and Wildlife Development, said.
Rai also asked people to use public transport. The Delhi government has hired an extra 700 natural gas buses to encourage people to use public transport.
The government would intensify various dust-control steps such as using fire trucks to spray water, he said.
New Delhi's foul air is putting more children in hospital with breathing problems, raising concerns among parents.
(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj and Suchitra Mohanty; Editing by Susan Fenton) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +91-11-4954 8030; Twitter: @MayankBhardwaj9; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))