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Sunday, Nov 17, 2019

BJP calls odd-even ‘political stunt’, says AAP didn’t do anything to curb pollution

Delhi BJP chief and party MP from North East Delhi constituency Manoj Tiwari wrote to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday asking him to “rethink” about implementing odd-even as it will only “inconvenience Delhiites”.

delhi Updated: Sep 14, 2019 20:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
The main opposition party said that the AAP government has failed to take measures to curb pollution in the national capital.
The main opposition party said that the AAP government has failed to take measures to curb pollution in the national capital. (Hindustan Times)
         

Day after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the implementation of odd-even vehicle rationing scheme to curb pollution in winters, the Delhi BJP called the Aam Aadmi Party government’s decision a “political stunt” ahead of the assembly elections in Delhi. The main opposition party said that the AAP government has failed to take measures to curb pollution in the national capital.

Delhi BJP chief and party MP from North East Delhi constituency Manoj Tiwari wrote to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday asking him to “rethink” about implementing odd-even as it will only “inconvenience Delhiites”.

Tiwari wrote, “The decision (to implement odd-even) has been taken without a proper thought. This had created so many problems for Delhiites the last time it was done…. I urge you to rethink this decision of implementing odd-even scheme and kindly spare Delhiites unnecessary hassles they would be subjected to with this move.”

Calling the government’s decision a political stunt, Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel questioned the timing of the decision. “Why they didn’t do it for last three years? They have not done anything in the last five years and now are trying to win the support of public through this gimmick in the last five months,” said Goel.

Pollution, Goel said, is going to be one of the main political issues in the upcoming assembly elections. He alleged, “They (AAP) are misleading the people of Delhi by calling that the PM 2.5 levels have come down. They are not giving the figures of PM 10, as it continues to be as high as it was in 2015.”

Tiwari said the air pollution in Delhi has reduced by 25 per cent because of the opening of the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways. “The two expressways keep out nearly 60,000 heavy commercial vehicles from Delhi roads, considerably reducing traffic congestion as well as pollution levels,” Tiwari said.

The party hit out at Kejriwal government for not taking any measure to bring down pollutions. Tiwari and Goel said that the Delhi Transport Corporation’s fleet doesn’t have adequate number of buses. “Delhi needs 20,000 buses, but there are just 3000-odd buses available. They have failed to add new buses. They could add only 25 buses,” said Tiwari.

In 2017, the National Green Tribunal had objected to Delhi government’s decision to give exemptions to certain categories, including women, while implementing odd-even. The BJP said the present public transport infrastructure in Delhi can’t cater to people if 60 lakh two-wheelers are not exempted. Goel also pointed to the recent Global Liveability Index report, in which Delhi’s slipped from 112 to 118 rank due to rising ‘pollution and crime’.

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said, “We agree with Manoj Tiwari. Let BJP take all the credit for reducing pollution in Delhi...One more credit that can be taken by Union government is to control the pollution due to crop burning in neighborhood states, which are ruled by BJP and Congress. The alarming pollution levels in Delhi in the months of November (and December) are beyond the control of Delhi and it’s credit can be legitimately taken by the centtral government.”

He added, “Moreover, the AAP also wants to point out that as per World Economic Forum Report of 2019, 7 of the top 10 polluted cities in the world are in India. They include Noida, Gurugram, Faridabad, Gaziabad, Bhiwadi, Patna and Lucknow All seven of them are in BJP ruled states - UP, Haryana and Bihar. So if the Centre has single-handedly reduced pollution in Delhi, we request them to apply the same formula to other Indian cities.”