At a time when people are choking due to the rising pollution in the city, the Delhi government and the Centre are on a collision course.
A day after Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar blamed the Arvind Kejriwal-led government over the slow progress in cleaning the capital’s toxic air, Delhi’s environment minister Asim Ahmed Khan asked the Centre not to play politics.
While there is lot of talk on air pollution, there has been very little action on ground despite the National Green Tribunal recommending several measures.
In a letter to Javadekar, Khan said checking air pollution should not become a subject of political wrangling. “The Delhi government has time and again urged the Centre to take steps and take a lead in ensuring completion of peripheral expressways that will ensure non-destined traffic does not enter Delhi. This traffic is a major cause for pollution in Delhi,” Khan has written.
Javadekar on Tuesday said the Delhi government failed to give its feedback on an action plan. He said he had held three meetings with the state government to discuss various issues and blamed the Delhi government for the garbage littered across the city.
Khan has now said the Centre also needs to resolve the issue of setting up of joint check posts in Haryana and UP so that non-destined traffic to Delhi can be turned back and overloading of vehicles checked.
“I request you to call a meeting with various stakeholders in the NCR and ask them to prepare Delhi-like action plans. The Centre should coordinate source-specific pollution-control activities in a holistic manner. The Delhi government is committed to taking all necessary steps to improve air quality,” the Delhi minister has written.
Khan has said that an action plan was sent to the Centre in February, but this action plan was limited to Delhi. “Air pollution doesn’t recognise geographical boundaries. NCR is a contiguous area with high population density and multiple pollution sources. It is difficult to pinpoint pollution sources. Delhi is receiving pollution from neighbouring towns and industries,” Khan has written.
The Delhi minister said a plan would be submitted to the Centre shortly. “The process of preparing a time-bound action plan requires sustained efforts from various agencies including municipal corporations, Delhi Development Authority and the police,” Khan has said adding, “The Delhi government will take up this matter expeditiously and submit a plan to the Centre shortly.”