Punjab has refuted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s claim of holding Punjab and Haryana farmers responsible for pollution in the national capital.
As per the data available on Sameer App of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Jalandhar recorded worst Air Quality Index (AQI) at 186 in Punjab, followed by Ludhiana at 184 on Monday. The air quality was monitored at 7.10 pm. As per the same App, Delhi had an AQI of 375 that is very poor.
A senior functionary of Punjab government said it was wrong for the Delhi Chief Minister to blame Punjab. “Our average AQI today is 150. We will contribute to Delhi pollution, only if we have an AQI corresponding to the National Capital Region. On the contrary, we are far better than Delhi. They cannot blame our farmers. Our pollution is under control. Jalandhar has the worst AQI at 186 today (Monday), which is considered average as per the specifications of the CPCB,” said the official.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered good, 51 and 100 satisfactory, 101 and 200 moderate, 201 and 300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 Severe.
According to the data, Patiala had an AQI of 140, Amritsar of 147, Khanna 135, Mandi Gobindgarh 131 and Bathinda 115. “How can we be blamed?”
Though Punjab is contesting claims of Kejriwal, it has a reason to worry as the ambient air quality has worsened in the last five days. On October 24, Patiala had an AQI of 94, Mandi Gobindgarh 70, Ludhiana 138, Jalandhar 87, Amritsar 166 and Khanna 109.
We are not doing bad. During the corresponding period last year, we had the average AQI of over 350. Today, we have an average of not more than 150. It is our success,” said Agriculture Secretary-cum-State Nodal Officer of Anti-stubble Burning Campaign K S Pannu.
He added the farmers had given positive response to the state government’s efforts to do away with the stubble burning.
Another senior functionary said the stubble burning is expected to reduce by at least 30 per cent this year.