Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday blamed stubble burning for the "severe" air quality and said the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab should come together with Delhi to find a solution.
Kejriwal had on Wednesday written to his Haryana and Punjab counterparts for a meeting on the issue but Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, in an exchange of tweets, declined it saying air pollution level in the National Capital Region wasn't an inter-state matter and needed the Centre's intervention.
"I haven't yet got a chance to meet the two Chief Ministers," Kejriwal said after inaugurating 20 Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations here.
"This one month period from the mid-October to mid-November, when farmers burn the stubble, the whole of North India and not just Delhi turns into a gas chamber," he said.
"In September this year, the PM10 was recorded at 300 units and PM2.5 was 160. Now these figures have gone up to 940 and 750. This certainly hasn't happened due to the local problems," he explained.
He said his government and the citizens were ready to take all measures but that wasn't enough.
"All of us (North Indian states) will have to keep politics aside and work together to tackle this huge problem of pollution," he said.
Talking of a solution to crop burning, he said that farmers shouldn't be forced or fined for stubble burning but rather be provided with an economically viable alternative.
"Farmers find it easiest to burn the stubble. They need to be provided with better alternatives. They are already impoverished and shouldn't be troubled more with fines."
He said that if health problems caused by pollution costs more, then "as a country we should do something and fight against pollution".
He also noted that as per the India Meteorological Department predictions, there will be a change in the speed of the wind, bettering the air quality.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)