Chandigarh: With Delhi, NCR still choking on polluted air post-festive season, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing agony over Public health Emergency declared in the national capital, while stressing on the need for the Centre to take the matter in hand and search for a permanent solution in consultation with all the stakeholders (including Delhi, Punjab and Haryana).
In a veiled attack on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, the Punjab Chief Minister also made it clear that pointing fingers at others for the prevailing pollution in the region will do nothing to mitigate “people’s pain and grief”. He stated, “I am hearing a cacophony of blame targeted at us, in Punjab, for the prevailing situation in Delhi. The government in the national capital blames the stubble fires triggered by the farmers in Punjab and Haryana for the blanket of smog that is completely smothering Delhiites.”
Further, he also mentioned the measure his government has taken to mitigate the harsh environmental conditions, i.e. enforcing the law against stubble burning to the maximum extent possible. “We are even penalising the farmers even though it goes against my conscience to punish a community that has suffered and continues to suffer, at the hands of an ungrateful nation.”
But, he says, it does not “deter the farmers from resorting to the burning of the paddy straw to keep their pathetic margins from falling further”.
He goes on to plead the Prime Minister to search for a permanent solution to the crisis. He says the situation today demands a consensus, “rising above political affiliations”.
“And I look at you, Mr Prime Minister, to initiate the process of evolving that consensus, without further delay.”
Meanwhile, the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) on Saturday directed the neighbouring states of Delhi to stop burning of waste, toxic emissions from industries and dust from construction sites.
The Supreme Court will on November 4 hear issues relating to pollution caused by stubble-burning in the neighbouring states.
The air quality in the national capital on Saturday did not see any improvement as it continued to remain in the ‘severe’ category. According to the Air Quality Index data, the level of major pollutants PM 2.5 was recorded to be at 500 and PM 10 at 500 in Lodhi Road area on November 1.