Delhi pollution: After Punjab’s Amarinder, Kejriwal trains guns Khattar over smog crisis

Both chief ministers are expected to meet on Wednesday amid an ongoing spat over which state is responsible for the poor air quality in Delhi.

delhi Updated: Nov 14, 2017 00:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi air pollution,Delhi pollution,Delhi smog
Motorists drive amid heavy smog in New Delhi on November 13, 2017. Schools reopened in New Delhi on November 13 despite a fresh spike in pollution to emergency levels, drawing protests from parents who said the move put children's health in jeopardy.(AFP Photo)

Politics over pollution continued unabated on Monday though no end appeared in sight to Delhi’s struggle with toxic air.

Days after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal got into a public spat with Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, he traded charges with his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar over the health emergency in the National Capital Region.

Khattar on Monday tweeted a copy of a letter he sent to Kejriwal on November 10, asking him to “rise above short-term electoral gains” and focus on collective action in the fight against pollution.

Stubble burning by farmers in Haryana and Punjab has led to a spike in pollution in Capital, and Kejriwal has been criticising the chief ministers of both states on social media for not doing enough to control it.

Khattar, in his letter, turned the tables on Kejriwal by asking him what he had done to check pollution in his city. “Your assertion that the (Punjab and Haryana) governments have failed to provide farmers economically viable solutions gives away your subconscious awareness of your government’s inaction in this regard. There are 40,000 farmers’ families who cultivate as many hectares in Delhi. What steps have been taken to keep them from burning stubble?”

He added that no single person, organisation or government could improve the quality of air.

The Haryana CM’s letter was in response to a November 8 letter by Kejriwal, in which he had sought time from Khattar to discuss stubble burning. Khattar said he was in Delhi for two days, and Kejriwal could meet him at any time, but reminded the Delhi CM that “while Punjab has not spent even a paisa out its allocation of Rs 97.58 crore, Haryana has used Rs 39 crore of the allocation of Rs 45 crore released for crop residue management.”

Kejriwal then wrote on Twitter that he was trying to meet Khattar in Delhi, but the Haryana CM told him that he was busy. “He has asked me to come to Chandigarh on Wednesday. I look forward to meeting him,” Kejriwal said.

When asked about the spat, Khattar told HT: “I am pained at what Kejriwal is doing. No one should do politics over pollution… We should think about long-term measures as this season is already over and this pollution due to stubble burning will go within a day or two.”

First Published: Nov 14, 2017 00:10 IST