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Kejriwal Blames Neighbouring States for Air Pollution, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Hits Back

File photo of a farmer burning waste paddy stubble in a field. (Photo: Reuters)

File photo of a farmer burning waste paddy stubble in a field. (Photo: Reuters)

From March to mid-October this year, the air quality in Delhi was good and moderate, but after October 15, the air quality started deteriorating.

Chitwan Kaur
  • PTI
  • Last Updated: October 30, 2019, 9:20 PM IST
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New Delhi: Stating that the national capital is shrouded in toxic haze because of stubble-burning in neighbouring states, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday requested Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh governments to provide machinery and equipment to their farmers to stop the activity.

The national capital is choking because of stubble-burning in the neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, he told at a press conference here.

According to Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor SAFAR, the share of stubble-burning in Delhi's pollution has risen to 35 percent, the season's highest, and the hazardous haze shrouding the city on Wednesday can be "purely" attributed to it.

"Everyone can see how polluted the air is since yesterday. Delhi is choking because of the stubble-burning in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. I want to request the BJP to pressure its governments in both the states to provide facilities and equipment to farmers to stop them from burning stubble," Kejriwal said.

He also appealed to the Congress-led government in Punjab to stop stubble burning in the state.

Kejriwal said he has spoken to many farmers from Punjab and Haryana, who say they are ready to stop burning stubble if they get alternate machinery which can benefit them in one way or the other.

"The farmers are ready, but there is a lack of effort by the governments. The incidents of stubble-burning have doubled from the previous year, which is a matter of worry for everyone," he said.

From March to mid-October this year, the air quality in Delhi was good and moderate, but after October 15, the air quality started deteriorating, he said. "This is due to the stubble burning."

"On behalf of the people of Delhi, I want to appeal to the central and state governments to support us in reducing pollution in the national capital," he also said.

The CM also said that his government's four-day laser show at Connaught Place, aimed at encouraging people to celebrate cracker-free Diwali, received good response from people.

"I am glad that the people of Delhi participated in the event in huge numbers. People from various sects, religions, and professions such as lawyers, judges, teachers and traders turned up for the celebrations," he said.

The chief minister also thanked Lt Governor Anil Baijal for supporting the Delhi government in organising the event which concluded on Tuesday.

He said this event will be organised on a much larger scale next year.

"We hope that next year, people will be excited about Diwali because of the laser show event. We are confident that 'Dilli Ki Diwali' will leave a mark amongst all the celebrations all over the world. As compared to the previous years, there was less bursting of crackers this year," he added.

"Also, I hope that in the coming years, use of crackers will be further reduced," Kejriwal added.

'Kejriwal indulging in lies'

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday termed the Aam Aadmi Party's proposed protest outside Punjab Bhawan over the alleged inaction by the state in controlling stubble burning as an "obvious political stunt" with an eye on the upcoming assembly elections in the national capital.

Singh lashed out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the latter's "brazen lies" on the issue of air pollution.

Amarinder, hitting out at his Delhi counterpart for trying to "divert public attention from his own government's failures" by indulging in such "outright lies".

By blaming others for his own lapses, Kejriwal was showing signs of his poor leadership, the Chief Minister said in a statement.

Describing Kejriwal as a "liar", the Punjab chief minister accused him of resorting to "political gimmickry" after failing to seriously address the pollution problem in Delhi in the past five years.

"Now that Delhi was reeling under dangerously hazardous levels of pollution, the AAP chief had suddenly decided to turn his attention to the critical issue," Amarinder Singh said, questioning the Delhi chief minister on the steps taken by his government to tackle the problem.

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