Delhi pollution: Kejriwal calls emergency meeting to discuss toxic city air | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Delhi pollution: Kejriwal calls emergency meeting to discuss toxic city air

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called an emergency meeting of his cabinet on Sunday, ANI reported, to deal with tackle the spiking air pollution and thick layer of smog in the Capital that has refused to lift since Diwali last week.

Breathless in Delhi Updated: Nov 06, 2016 12:56 IST
People wear air masks as smog covers capital’s skyline.
People wear air masks as smog covers capital’s skyline.(Arun Sharma/HT Photo)

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called an emergency meeting of his cabinet on Sunday, ANI reported, to deal with tackle the spiking air pollution and thick layer of smog in the Capital that has refused to lift since Diwali last week.

The Delhi cabinet meeting comes a day before similar meets called by the Centre and the city lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung.

Kejriwal has blamed burning of farm residue in Punjab and Haryana for what is being described as the worst smog in Delhi in almost two decades. On Saturday, he called the city a gas chamber and appealed to the Centre to step in.

“We are talking about source of pollution; Farmers will not stop burning the crops till they are given incentives,” city health minister Satyendra Jain was quoted as saying by ANI.

Hindustan Times’ air quality index showed that the pollution – described as the worst in almost two decades – showed no signs of abating on Sunday. Most places in south, central and north Delhi recorded “severe” air quality with PM 2.5 levels between 12 and 15 times the safe limit. Sirifort in south Delhi and Anand Vihar in east Delhi were among the most polluted.

Read| Delhi pollution levels 15 times the safe limit, no respite in sight

On Monday, Union minister of state for environment Anil Madhav Dave will meet with ministers from neighbouring states, identified as among the major polluters due to the burning of farm residue.

Jung has called a separate meeting, to be attended by Kejriwal, member-secretaries of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), besides other officials.

The Centre and state government are worried about the haze that has enveloped the city since Diwali last week, exposing millions of people to potential health problems.

“We need to give farmers alternative technologies so that they stop burning the remaining parts of crop. We need the help of the central government for that. The Delhi government doesn’t have too many methods to tackle this crisis as reason of smog is outside Delhi,” Kejriwal told reporters.

Hospitals across the city reported a surge in patients with respiratory disorders. Two Ranji Trophy matches were also suspended due to smog, officials said. Though the BJP-controlled municipal corporations kept about 1,800 schools shut on Saturday because of poor air quality, Kejriwal said his government had no plan to order the suspension of classes.

Read| Air so dirty you can smell, taste: Delhi grapples with toxic pollution

For full coverage on pollution in Delhi, click here