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War of words between Delhi L-G, AAP govt intensifies over air pollution

A war of words between the Delhi LG's office and the AAP government over the "Red Light On, Gaadi Off" campaign continued for the second day

Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Press Trust of India New Delhi
A war of words between the Delhi LG's office and the AAP government over the "Red Light On, Gaadi Off" campaign continued for the second day on Friday, with the former accusing city Environment Minister Gopal Rai of "lying" about the date of its launch and Rai questioning the lieutenant governor's seriousness about the pollution issue.
Setting the stage for a fresh confrontation with LG V K Saxena, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi had said on Thursday it is postponing the launch of the campaign as the LG's office is yet to approve it.
Sources in the LG's office said on Friday that Rai did not speak the truth about the date of the campaign launch and claimed that the AAP did so to coerce Saxena into taking a decision.
On the other hand, Rai accused Saxena of making excuses for not giving a timely approval for the campaign and questioned his seriousness about curbing pollution in the national capital.
The month-long "Red Light On, Gaadi Off" campaign aims at encouraging drivers to turn off the ignition of their vehicles while waiting at traffic signals.
Rai had claimed on Thursday that the file on the campaign was sent to Saxena on October 21.
The sources said Saxena was out of office due to prior commitments on Thursday.
"Rai lied to the people of Delhi that the Red Light On, Gaadi Off campaign was to be launched on October 28. The file sent to the LG by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal clearly mentions the date of launch as October 31," a source said.
The sources further claimed that the file was sent to the LG secretariat on October 21, which was a Friday, after which the offices "fully" opened only on October 27 (Thursday), following the weekend, a gazetted holiday and a restricted holiday.
"The files sent to the LG are not perfunctory in nature. They require proper consideration and application of mind," a source said.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Rai said, "The LG has withheld the file of the Red Light On, Gaadi Off campaign on the pretext of leave from work. He has made three excuses for not signing the file. He should sign the file immediately instead of making excuses. Fighting against pollution is the collective responsibility of all of us.
"The LG, who gave the excuse of holidays, had issued statements on October 26 criticising the chief minister regarding the preparations for Chhath. I want to know if his office is open to do politics and closed to protect Delhiites from pollution. The LG is either not aware of the seriousness of the pollution issue or making excuses for not giving a timely nod to the Red Light On, Gaadi Off drive."

Talking about the confusion regarding the date on which the permission was sought from the LG and the date of the campaign launch, the minister said earlier, the plan was to roll out the drive on October 31.
"When the file was sent to the chief minister's office, the date of October 31 was written in it. But apprehending increasing pollution levels after Diwali, it was decided to to shift it to October 28 on the chief minister's instructions and the media was informed about it on October 22, which might have been overlooked by the LG, so he is resorting to such absurd excuses," he said.
The Delhi government first launched the "Red Light On, Gaadi Off" campaign on October 16, 2020.
According to the Petroleum Conservation Research Association's data, a person unnecessarily burns fuel for 25 to 30 minutes daily while waiting at traffic signals. If car engines are turned off when the traffic signal is red, vehicular pollution will be reduced by 15 to 20 per cent.
According to government estimates, the transport sector accounts for 28 per cent of the PM2.5 emissions in Delhi.
PM2.5 are fine particles that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter and can travel deep into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs and entering the bloodstream.

(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 28 2022 | 8:52 PM IST

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