Taking note of severe air pollution in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday said the odd-even road-rationing scheme could be extended beyond November 15 if required.
In a statement released Wednesday, he appealed to the Opposition parties not to oppose the scheme, which aims to reduce pollution by allowing only half of privately owned cars on the roads on any given day.
“All of Delhi is demanding odd-even and at such a time, the Opposition should support the people’s wish,” the CM said.
He blamed the rise in pollution on crop residue burning in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana. “Stubble burning started after October 10 and the pollution levels in Delhi started rising to severe category due to that… I am highly disappointed that the states are not even obeying directions given by the Supreme Court. The people of Delhi are suffering and I am very concerned about their health,” Kejriwal said.
He added that weather changes and rain witnessed in the two states this season meant there was relatively less intrusion of smoke to Delhi for a period of three-four days, but fires have started again. Authorities in Punjab have been recording farm fire cases since September 23 and in Haryana from September 25.
The CM also said he met several experts in the last few days to explore options on alternate use of crop residue. He said it could be converted into CNG and production is expected to start soon at a plant in Karnal, Haryana.
He also said the Indraprastha Gas Limited is keen to purchase CNG generated from stubble. He said several industries have been set up in Punjab for conversion of crop residue into coal and that the NTPC is ready to purchase all of the coal produced.
“These industries need to be promoted by Haryana and Punjab in a huge way as they will promote employment in the states and help farmers earn,” Kejriwal said.