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Kejriwal seeks meetings with Haryana, UP, Punjab CMs to curb air pollution

CM Arvind Kejriwal requested Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday to hold monthly meetings with the CMs of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and UP to curb air pollution

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal briefs the media as he inaugurates country's first 'Plasma Bank' via video conference, in New Delhi on Thursday.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal requested Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday to hold monthly meetings with the CMs of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and UP to curb air pollution, saying there is a lack of political will at the level of the states to address the problem of stubble burning.
In a virtual press briefing, he said the affected states have been unable to find a solution to stop stubble burning and prevent air pollution. "I believe pollution due to stubble burning can be controlled in a short span of time. But a lack of political will is visible in doing that."

Kejriwal said the crop residue can be biodegraded or converted into biogas, coal and even cardboard. The paddy straw can be converted into compressed biogas or cooking coal which some factories are doing in Karnal in Haryana, he said, adding crop residue can be "converted into an opportunity" within a year, provided there are strict timelines to move away from stubble burning.
He said he agreed with Javadekar that air pollution is not limited to one state, adding that all the state governments should come together to fight it.
Kejriwal, however, added that Javadekar had said it will take at least four years to control pollution, but he believed if all the state governments and political parties "work honestly by keeping aside their political differences then we can check air pollution in much less than four years."

The chief minister said although scientists and engineers have come out with solutions to reduce the incidents of stubble burning, such as the biodecomposer developed by the Pusa Institute in Delhi, there is a lack of political will to adopt these methods.
"We must not consider stubble as a liability but need to transform it to an opportunity. If all state governments adopt these conversion measures, it will benefit farmers monetarily and generate employment," he said.
"Politics was recently being done on the extent of pollution caused by stubble burning. But even the Supreme Court has now said that in these two months of the year, pollution is caused mainly by stubble burning. The pollution caused by stubble burning is not limited to Delhi. It affects the whole North India and I am worried about farmers and their children where stubble is burnt."

Kejriwal said the Central government has been convening meetings only with the environment ministers of the states but they have not been able to find a solution to the issue.
"I want to request the Union environment minister to call a meeting of the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi every month because this is a big issue and it can't be managed only at the level of the environment ministers of these states. The environment ministers, senior officials and experts from these states should also be present in these monthly meetings," he said.
"We all should meet with an open mind and discuss the problem. We should not indulge in any kind of blame game," he said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Oct 19 2020 | 7:53 PM IST

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