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Absence of Haryana, Punjab environment ministers in air pollution meeting a 'lax approach': Gahlot

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Delhi Minister Kailash Gahlot on Monday raised concerns over the absence of his counterparts from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan and officials from all MCDs and DDA in the meeting called by the Centre to prepare a roadmap to combat air pollution in Delhi and the Capital Region (NCR).

Speaking to reporters here, Gahlot said, "This lax approach cannot bring any positive results in the efforts to contain pollution. It is unfortunate that this has happened in spite of the strict directions from the Supreme Court and even after summoning the Chief Secretaries of the respective states by the apex court."

The minister said that he will write to the chief ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to raise the matter and urge them to take stringent steps to stop stubble burning in their respective states.

"Delhi has been witnessing increased levels of air pollution today and yesterday. Dust originating from the roads, particularly from unpaved roads is one of the major sources of pollution in Delhi. Mostly, these roads fall under MCDs. The empty land patches that create dust falls under DDA. Neither MCD commissioners nor DDA Vice Chairman and officials was present in the meeting," he said.

"Without the cooperation of such agencies dust sources and garbage that causes pollution cannot be controlled. It is unfortunate that such a serious issue has been neglected by these agencies," added the minister.

Gahlot asked, "In such a situation, how a roadmap can be prepared without political will and 100 per cent commitment?"

In the meeting called by the Centre, the minister expressed his anguish about the slow rate of distribution of machines to farmers in a bid to prevent them from burning stubbles.

"As per the affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court by the Centre, 63,000 machines were distributed in 2018-2019 and 40,000 in 2019-2020 to the farmers in Punjab and Haryana. If we consider the number of farmers in Punjab alone, it is 27 lakh as per various studies. If the distribution of the machines occurs at this speed, it will take 50-60 years to complete," Gahlot said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, November 11 2019. 19:57 IST