Search collectively for permanent solution to pollution woes: Amarinder in letter to ModiUpdated: Nov 02, 2019 20:11 IST
Chandigarh Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday expressed his anger and concern at the situation that the growing air pollution in Delhi had triggered, in an emotional letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“No Indian, and definitely no person in Punjab, is oblivious to the misery of our brethren in the national capital,” the letter says, pointing out that his own children and grandchildren living in Delhi, were sharing the plight of lakhs of people due to the toxic air enveloping the national capital.
Calling for the launch of a collective search to find a permanent solution, the letter adds, “The prevailing situation has exposed the hollowness of our claims of being a progressive and developed nation. How can a country be called developed when its capital city has been reduced to a gas chamber, not by any natural disaster, but by a series of man-made ones?.”
Making it clear that he had no intention of brushing his hands off Punjab’s responsibility in this tragic state of affairs, the CM added that the entire country, including Delhi itself, as well as the government at the Centre, had allowed ‘this state of affairs to emerge and sustain, with our various acts of commission and omission’.
“Stubble fires, supported by the winds blowing in the wrong direction, were contributing to the toxic levels of air pollution that prevail today in Delhi. We must note, however, that data from several independent agencies had pointed out that large-scale industrial pollution, the traffic overload and the excessive construction activity taking place in Delhi were equally, if not more, to blame,” the letter adds.
The letter adds that Punjab had tried to enforce the law against stubble burning and was even penalising the farmers, ‘even though it goes against my conscience to punish a community that continues to suffer at the hands of an ungrateful nation’.
Delhi and Haryana, too, were doing what they could, in their own ways, he pointed out, adding that the role of the Centre had remained dubious, even though it was the biggest stakeholder. The letter recalled that he had suggested to the PM and other union ministers, on several occasions, to earmark a separate bonus of ₹100/quintal to facilitate stubble management. “Perhaps your government does not feel that is the right solution, which would explain its failure to respond positively to my request,” the letter adds.