The Centre needs to intervene to mitigate the alarming levels of smog, which have virtually turned Delhi into a “gas chamber”, mainly due to farm fires in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said. He said vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.
“Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity,” Kejriwal told a press conference. Shutting down of schools for a long time was not a feasible solution, he said, when asked about the decision of the civic bodies to keep schools run by it closed for a day in view of pollution.
Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional practise. He said the Delhi government has very few methods at its disposal and the Centre needs to intervene. The Centre can sit with the Chief Minister of these states and chalk out a solution. Few reports have put the volume of stubble being burned at around 16-20 million tonnes.
“Fireworks during Diwali marginally added to the pollution. But other things inside Delhi did not drastically change. So the smog is mainly due to smoke from farm fires,” he observed. Kejriwal identified the main sources of pollution inside Delhi as vehicles, dust and waste burning, which he said could not be responsible for the pall of smog across the city. “I saw smoke across Punjab, Haryana during my visits. We need Centre’s help. We are hiring an agency in a week or two to study the sources of pollution in Delhi afresh. The Centre needs to intervene,” he said.