Updated: November 3, 2019 6:37:36 pm
With Delhi government blaming stubble burning for the rising levels of pollution in the national capital, Uttar Pradesh minister Sunil Bharala on Sunday claimed that stubble burning is “natural” and a “Yagya to please Lord Indra (God of rain)” will set things right.
Bharala’s comment comes days after Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were involved in a spat after the latter blamed stubble burning for the deteriorating air quality in New Delhi. Follow Delhi, NCR pollution LIVE Updates
“Farmers have always practiced stubble burning. It’s a natural system. Repeated criticism of it is unfortunate. Governments should hold ‘Yagya’ to please Lord Indra (God of rain), as done traditionally. He (Lord Indra) will set things right,” Bharala said.
#WATCH Uttar Pradesh minister Sunil Bharala: Farmers have always practiced stubble burning, it’s a natural system. Repeated criticism of it is unfortunate. Govts should hold ‘Yagya’ to please Lord Indra (God of rain), as done traditionally. He (Lord Indra) will set things right. pic.twitter.com/EcImGAbVrl
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 3, 2019
On Sunday, the pollution levels in Delhi rose to ‘severe-plus emergency’ category. At 12 pm, the air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was at 625, according to the data by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). At 9 am, the AQI stood at 410.
Express Explained | Why it is unfair to blame Punjab farmers alone for the pollution in Delhi
An AQI between 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’. Above 500 falls in the ‘severe-plus emergency’ category.
At least 32 flights have been diverted from Delhi towards Jaipur, Amritsar, and Lucknow, news agency PTI reported. Air India also said that 12 of its flights have been diverted due to bad weather conditions.
Meanwhile, all government and private schools up till Class 12 in Noida and Greater Noida have been ordered to be closed on November 4 and 5 in the wake of a spike in the pollution level, officials said on Sunday.
On Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to find a consensus on a solution for the health emergency, and admitted that stubble fires, accompanied by wind direction, were partly to blame.
A statement by Punjab CMO said Singh made it clear that he had no intent of brushing his hands off the state’s responsibility, but added that the entire country, including Delhi itself as well as the Centre, had allowed “this state of affairs to emerge and sustain, with our various acts of commission and omission”.
Delhi and Haryana, too, were doing what they could, he pointed out, but added that the role of the Centre had remained dubious.
On Friday, public health emergency was declared by the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), which ordered a complete ban on construction till 6 am Tuesday.
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