November 13, 2021 11:02:38 pm
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Saturday took a swipe at his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, who has pointed to farm fires in neighbouring states as a cause for pollution in the capital.
Responding to a question on Kejriwal’s remarks that governments in neighbouring states were “doing nothing” to help farmers, who were compelled to burn stubble, Khattar said, “Bahut zabardast tamacha Supreme Court ne maara hai (the Supreme Court has struck a powerful slap). The SC has rightfully said that you always blame farmers for stubble burning, whereas there are so many other sources that contribute to pollution… you don’t speak about those other sources.”
Khattar said his government had undertaken several measures to curb stubble burning: “We have distributed machines… imposed penalties and given Rs 1,000 per acre to farmers as an incentive to not burn stubble. If you see the data, farm fires are 20 times more in Punjab as compared to Haryana. There have been 183 cases of stubble burning in Haryana while over 3,500 cases have been reported in Punjab. All this data is compiled through satellite pictures, not manual counting…”
On the top court’s observations regarding air quality in Delhi and if a lockdown for two days should be imposed, he said, “That was said in relation to situation in Delhi, but whether it is Delhi or any other place, pollution is matter of concern for us and we are making constant efforts to control it. We will follow whatever directions are given by the SC.”
Air quality continued to be in the ‘severe’ category in Gurgaon for the second consecutive day Saturday, with an AQI of 441, slightly lower than Friday’s AQI of 448.
S Narayanan, member-secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board, said a meeting was held Saturday to review the situation. “For the time being, we will continue to implement the Graded Response Action Plan under the ‘severe’ category for at least a week, with a little caution and preparedness for the ‘severe plus’ category. The air is expected to be relatively calmer over the next two-three days, so the situation depends on external factors too.”
The weather bulletin states the situation is likely to improve marginally but will remain in the ‘severe’ category till Monday.
The AQI in Noida and Ghaziabad has been between 440 and 470. “It has been impacted by stubble burning and meteorological factors. Till November 17-18, weather conditions are not conducive for the dispersion of dust particles. However, if stubble burning reduces, things will improve. We are monitoring the situation and if there are any fresh guidelines from the Centre or state government, they will be implemented,” said Utsav Sharma, Assistant Engineer, UP Pollution Control Board.
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