New Delhi, Nov 10: The Delhi government is in talks with Pawan Hans, an aviation entity under the Centre, for aerially sprinkling water in the city to settle particulate matter, authorities on both sides said on Friday.
Responding to a letter written by the city's Environment Minister Imran Hussain on possibility of such an exercise, Vanrajsinh H Dodia, the general manager (BD and marketing) of Pawan Hans said the company has the "capacity" to take it up.
Pawan Hans Chairman and Managing Director BP Sharma told PTI that the talks are at a "preliminary stage". "They asked if we can do this and we said yes. But there are certain procedures they will have to follow," he said.
In its response, the company, which comes under the civil aviation ministry, said it has carried out similar exercises in the past for washing insulators of high tension lines and spraying over agricultural fields.
"Sprinkling water aerially through helicopter to settle particulat matters in Delhi shall require a comprehensive feasibility study and approvals from various authorities such as DGCA, AAI, defence, Delhi administration," Dodia wrote.
He also suggested a joint working group of the Delhi administration and Pawan Hans be set up to work out the proposal, adding that proposed sprinkling will require specialised equipment to be attached with choppers.
The Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL) is a 51:49 joint venture between the civil aviation ministry and oil behemoth ONGC. The profit-making aviation entity is currently under a divestment process as the government has proposed to offload its entire 51 per cent holding in the company to private entities. The idea of aerial sprinkling of water was first floated by the National Green Tribunal in November last year.
"Why can't you use helicopters to create artificial rain to control dust pollution. Are they only meant to carry your officials?" a bench headed by NGT Chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar asked.