With the Centre saying stubble burning contributed only four per cent to pollution in Delhi, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday stressed the latest data has vindicated his government’s stance.
Hours after Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that stubble burning contributes to only 4 per cent of PM 2.5 pollution in Delhi, with the rest caused by local factors, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Thursday said it was a vindication of his government’s stand that stubble burning was no responsible for pollution in the national capital.
Flaying his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, the Punjab chief minister asked him to “stop lying” to divert attention from his “failure” to protect the national capital’s environment.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in Delhi said stubble burning contributed only four per cent to the Delhi-NCR pollution with the rest caused by local factors. Reacting to Javadekar’s assertion, Kejriwal blamed him for “being in denial”.
“In fact, it is Kejriwal who is in denial. If Kejriwal is serious about addressing Delhi’s crisis, he should stop being in denial immediately and get down to the task of finding solutions in right earnest,” Amarinder said in a statement.
Kejriwal, said the CM, had been spreading “misinformation” on the issue with the sole agenda of keeping people of Delhi in the dark about the actual situation, which his government had “failed miserably” to handle over the years. The fact is that there is absolutely no data to support the claims of the Delhi chief minister, he said, adding that in contrast, studies showed that stubble burning was only a miniscule part of the national capital’s problem.
The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in a research paper based on data for 2018 and 2019 has found that Delhi’s pollution is localised and not attributable to farm fires in Punjab or the NCR.
It pointed out that AQI for Punjab is much better than in Delhi. Amarinder pointed out that this is something Punjab has been maintaining for the past several years, with the pollution levels in the state nowhere near as bad as those in Delhi. It pointed out that the air quality index of Punjab is much better than Delhi.
Amarinder said Kejriwal had been taking refuge in “brazen falsehoods” to divert public attention from the AAP government’s “total failure”.
“Even today, the skies in Punjab are clear and the AQI levels much better than those in Delhi,” Amarinder said.
The Punjab CM said the main cause of Delhi’s pollution was construction and demolition activities. The Punjab CM claimed that his government is doing its best to reduce stubble burning to cleanse the air. Unfortunately, farmers are facing a massive problem in managing paddy straw in the absence of fiscal aid from the Centre despite repeated pleas, he stressed. He reiterated his demand for Rs 100 a quintal as financial support from the Centre to eliminate the problem in Punjab.
Meanwhile, Later in the evening, Javadekar, in a series of tweets, clarified,”My statement today on Air Pollution in Delhi has been misinterpreted by a section of the media. Let me clarify, the figures of 4 % share of stubble burning in AQI in Delhi, pertained to this week. It varies from 4 % to 40% during peak stubble burning”.
Earlier, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Raghav Chadha also tweeted that the CPCB’s own estimate of 2019 suggest stubble burning contributed up to 44 per cent to the national capital’s air pollution. “Central Pollution Control Board’s own estimate of 2019 suggest stubble burning contributed up to 44% to Delhi’s air pollution. Ministry of Earth Sciences’ SAFAR said at peak of stubble burning in Punjab & Haryana account for 44% of Delhi’s pollution. What is Mr.Javadekar smoking?,” Chadha said in a tweet.
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