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AAP, BJP govts indulge in blame game over rising air pollution in Delhi


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The BJP-led central government and the AAP dispensation Monday indulged in a blame game over the rising air pollution in the national capital and accused each other of not taking effective steps to curb it.
Delhi's air quality continued to remain in the very poor category Monday as a thick haze engulfed the city, which was battling alarming levels of pollution.
An overall Air Quality Index of 367 was recorded which falls in the very poor category, according to data of pollution watchdog CPCB.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal blamed the Centre, and the governments of Haryana and Punjab Monday for the severe air pollution in Delhi, alleging they were not ready to do anything despite the efforts by the Aam Aadmi Party government.
"The pollution was in control in Delhi throughout the year, but this time (winters) every year, Delhi has to face severe pollution due to the governments at the Centre, BJP-led Haryana and Congress-led Punjab," he tweeted in Hindi.
"Despite our all-out efforts, they are not ready to do anything. Farmers of these two states are also fed up with their governments," he said.
Responding to Kejriwal's charges, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan alleged the AAP dispensation had "failed" to undertake basic measures to curb pollution.
He said Kejriwal "cannot absolve himself of responsibility" by targeting the Centre and the state governments.
Vardhan said the Centre had undertaken a series of measures like the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) and setting up of air purifiers.
"This is your responsibility. We have been tracking farm fires with the help of satellites and compared to previous years, it has been consistently going down. It is wrong to blame Haryana, Punjab and the central governments. Your work is being done by the Centre," Vardhan claimed.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari asked the party-ruled municipal corporations to step in to tackle the rising air pollution in the city, alleging the AAP government had "failed" to take effective measures.
In a letter to mayors and commissioners of the South, North and the East Delhi Municipal Corporations, which are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Tiwari requested them to ban all construction activities in the national capital with immediate effect.
Delhi's air continued to remain in the "very poor" category with an overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of 348 Monday.
He claimed it was very unfortunate that the Delhi government only remained a "mute spectator" to this "serious health hazard" Delhi was facing.
Tiwari alleged that in the last four years, the AAP dispensation had "failed" to take any effective measure to curb air pollution.
"Being administrative heads of Delhi's premier civic bodies, it is imperative upon you to step in to tackle air pollution," he said in the letter.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) agreed to the recommendations made by the CPCB for the first ten days of November when the air quality is likely to deteriorate further due to festival season and stubble burning in neighbouring states.
The recommendations include closure of all construction activities that generate dust pollution between November 1 and 10.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)-led task force also recommended shutting down coal and biomass based industries, excluding thermal and waste-to-energy plants, from November 4 to 10, intensification of efforts by Transport Department to check polluting vehicles and controlling traffic congestion in Delhi-NCR between November 1 and 10.
The task force also recommended efforts to provide uninterrupted power supply in the NCR to avoid requirement of operating diesel generator (DG) sets.
Also, authorities asked 113 industries to shutdown for not converting to Piped Natural Gas (PNG) in the national capital.
Of the 113 units, 67 are located in Bawana and Narela industrial areas, an official statement said Monday.
In a meeting chaired by Lt Governor Anil Baijal here, officials told the LG that 1,368 show cause notices and 417 closure directions were issued against polluting units by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).
"It was further informed that closure directions have been issued to 113 industries which have not converted to PNG," the LG office said in a statement.
It stated that DPCC officials informed Baijal that the committee had deputed "environment marshals" for night patrolling in Bawana, Narela, Mundka, Nangloi, Punjabi Bagh, Dwarka, Anand Vihar, Bhalaswa SLF and Ghazipur SLF.
The LG directed for more deployment of environmental marshals keeping in mind the emergent air pollution condition.

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First Published: Oct 29 2018 | 10:30 PM IST

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