Rubbishing Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s accusations that pollution in the national capital was primarily due to crop burning in Punjab, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s media adviser Harcharan Bains on Sunday dared the AAP chief to announce a ban on the same.
Bains told ANI that Delhi is witnessing an emergency situation due to alarming pollution level owing to its own fault and not only because of Punjab.
“Crop burning is going on for quite sometime, it is nothing new. The smog accumulated earlier also. It’s not only because of Punjab. It is happening because of Delhi’s own fault. If Kejriwal thinks it is because of Punjab, then he should publically announce it and if he comes to power in Punjab, then he should put a ban on this. Is he willing to make that promise? And if not, then he is only playing politics and he shouldn’t do it,” he said.
“Earlier too, such allegation was levied but the court has rejected any such allegation. They are defaming Punjab due to all kinds of reasons-for drugs, for terrorism and now even for smog. I mean, this is the limit. And if he seriously thinks it is because of Punjab, then he should announce a ban,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal announced a list of measures to be enforced by the state government to curb the soaring pollution in the national capital, including putting all construction projects across the city on hold for the next five days and ordering the shutdown of all schools for the next three days. He also stated that the return of the odd-even scheme was possible to keep traffic emissions in check, adding the possibility of artificial rain was also discussed in the meeting but it would require Centre’s assistance.
Remaining resolute on his stand that crop burning in the neighbouring states was responsible for the ever-increasing pollution level in Delhi, Kejriwal added that no immediate relief could be expected as stubble burning continued.
Data from System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) on Sunday indicated that the pollution levels were still “severe”, with PM 2.5 at 355 and PM 10 at 482. At 9 am, the PM 10 levels at RK Puram was 999, at IGI Airport it was 436, at Punjabi Bagh, 999, Shanti Path area registered 662. The forecast for the next three days was also marked as “very poor”.
Meanwhile, the people from all walks of life earlier in the day gathered at Jantar Mantar to carry out a series of protests beginning from Sunday to fight for their right to breathe. The national capital, considered to be the world’s most polluted city, hit a new low the past week. As millions struggle with hacking coughs and burning eyes, many schools across the city have either shut down or ended all outdoor activities. Several mask-clad children and concerned citizens were seen protesting against the rising pollution level.
Delhi lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung has also called a high-level meeting on the issue tomorrow during which immediate, short-term and long-term measures to combat the growing air pollution in the city are to be discussed. (ANI)