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Smog fallout: Haryana CM says Kejriwal playing politics over paddy stubble burning

Khattar took on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal for not doing enough to check pollution in the national capital region.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2017 15:47 IST
HT Correspondwent
HT Correspondwent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Smog,Manohar Lal Khattar,Haryana chief minister
Arvind Kejriwal and ML Khattar(HT Photo)

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has asked his Delhi counterpart, Arvind Kejriwal, to “rise above short-term electoral gains” and focus on collective action to improve the air quality of the national capital region that has been engulfed in smog since last week due to rampant paddy stubble burning by farmers in neighbouring Haryana and Punjab.

In reply to Kejriwal’s letter on November 8, Khattar said, “No single person, organisation or government can improve the quality of air. Such problems require collective action and everyone should do their bit.”

Offering to meet Kejriwal to resolve the issue, he said he is in Delhi on November 13 and 14 after which he would be available in Chandigarh.

He sought a “strong mechanism” to enhance the outcome of constructive steps. “The bedrock for such a mechanism is a mindset that unfortunately his (Kejriwal’s) letter contained no hint of. In fact, your reference to the helplessness of farmers in Punjab and Haryana in stubble burning betrays an inability to rise above short-term electoral interests,” Khattar wrote in his letter dated November 10.

He took on the Delhi CM for not doing enough to check pollution in NCR. “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?”

The Haryana chief minister quoted Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh’s recent statement, “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.”

He went on to add that satellite imagery data showed substantial reduction in the number of stubble burning fires in Haryana since 2014.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 15:46 IST