CM says stubble burning is a disease ailing Delhi’s air; AAP to stage protestsUpdated: Oct 30, 2019, 21:15 IST
Tagging stubble burning as a ‘disease’, which is taking a toll on Delhi’s air quality, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal urged people to build pressure on the BJP and Congress governments of neighbouring states to bring down incidents of crop residue burning.
To take the CM’s call forward, the Aam Aadmi Party would organise a demonstration outside Haryana Bhawan and Punjab Bhawan in New Delhi over the alleged inaction by the two states in controlling stubble burning.
The protest, which will be led by AAP’s Delhi convener Gopal Rai, is likely to be attended by Kejriwal too, senior party functionaries said.
“The air quality was in moderate category till October 15 this year. The sudden deterioration in pollution levels after October 15 was due to stubble burning. If we don’t contain the causes of a disease, it is pointless to treat for mere symptoms. All of us must build pressure of the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh,” Kejriwal said.
Government agencies said that on Wednesday, smoke from the stubble-burning regions of Punjab and Haryana contributed around 35% to the city’s PM2.5 levels.
“Delhi is choking because of the stubble burning in the neighbouring states. I want to request the BJP and Congress to pressure the governments of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab to provide facilities and equipment to farmers to stop them from burning stubble. Bringing down incidents of stubble burning will improve Delhi’s air drastically,” he added.
“Kejriwal’s claim that stubble burning in neighbouring states was responsible for the horrendous situation in Delhi was absolutely ludicrous, especially considering that the number of farm fires in Punjab had actually been the same as last year,” said Captain Amarinder Singh, chief minister of Punjab, adding that the statements issued by the Delhi chief minister was more of a political stunt.
Member secretary of the Haryana Pollution Control Board, S Narayanan, said it was possible that stubble burning contributed to Delhi’s high air pollution levels but there was no concrete scientific evidence. “We had asked IIT, Delhi, last year, to conduct a study the exact impact in the context. We are told IIT will submit its report shortly,” he said.
For the first time this year, the Delhi government launched a four-day laser show to dissuade people from bursting crackers. Saying it proved to be a success, Kejriwal said his government would organise the show on a bigger scale next year.
The government will also distribute around 50 lakh N-95 anti-pollution masks from Friday in both government and private schools. The decision on staggered office timings would be announced within a day or two, the chief minister said.
“Delhi is doing its bit starting from laser show, distributing pollution masks, odd-even among others. But we need to stop pollution coming from outside the city too,” he said.