Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the COVID-19 situation in the national capital should come under control in seven to 10 days as his government was considering initiating several steps next week to arrest the spread of the disease in the city.
Holding pollution as the "biggest reason" behind the spike in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, the chief minister said the situation was under control in the city till October 20.
"COVID-19 cases have been increasing for the last few days. I am also concerned about it. We have been taking all appropriate measures to control it. We are considering taking more steps next week. I think the situation should come under control in seven to 10 days and the cases should start decreasing," he said at a press conference.
Delhi recorded 7,053 fresh COVID-19 cases in a day, taking the infection tally in the national capital to over 4.67 lakh on Thursday, while 104 more fatalities in a same period, the highest in over five months, pushed the death toll to 7,332, authorities said.
The national capital had recorded its highest single-day spike of 8,593 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while 85 deaths linked to the disease were recorded on that day.
As many as 976 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded in the national capital in 16 days, with experts attributing it to a sudden surge in cases, deteriorating air quality, laxity by people in adhering to safety norms, among other factors.
Coronavirus cases in Delhi have registered a sudden spike since October 28 when the daily infection breached the 5,000-mark for the first time and it crossed the 8,000-mark on Thursday, also for the first time.
Citing a report, Kejriwal said the anti-stubble solution prepared by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, decomposed 70 to 95 per cent of crop residue in 24 villages in Delhi.
The Delhi government will submit the report along with a petition to the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Adjoining Areas, and urge it to issue directions to all state governments to implement it.
IARI scientists say Pusa bio-decomposer can turn crop residue into manure in 15 to 20 days and therefore, can prevent stubble burning.
"The solution was sprayed free of cost in 2,000 acres of non-basmati rice fields starting October 13. We have got an assessment report from 24 villages. The results are impressive," he said.
"We have found a solution to the problem of stubble burning, but will state governments implement it?" he posed.
This is a "very easy and cost-effective" solution. Now, no government can say there is no alternative to the problem. The report says it just costs Rs 30 per acre, which can be given out of a state's own budget, Kejriwal said.
The chief minister said the entire north India reels under the adverse effect of stubble burning in October and November every year.
"It has been happening for the last 10 to 12 years, but no concrete step had been taken to find a solution to the problem," he said.
"I hope this is the last year when farmers and people of these states have to suffer due to stubble burning," Kejriwal added.
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