Bad air quality not just Delhi's problem, Centre needs to step in: Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in an interview with India Today on Saturday said that the issue of pollution was not just confined to Delhi alone. “It is a pan-North India problem,” he said.
The Delhi chief minister named several other cities in India with similar air quality indexes (AQI). Reading from a paper he asked whether the pollution was only in Delhi and named cities like Bahadurgarh, Gurugram, Jind, Bhiwani, Rohtak, Charkhi Dadri and Faridabad in Haryana, Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, Bhiwadi in Rajasthan and Motihari, Siwan, Darbhanga and Samastipur in Bihar where too the AQI was in the severe category.
He questioned critics for pointing fingers solely at the AAP-ruled states and the Delhi air.
Admits to stubble burning
Speaking about crop stubble burning in Punjab, Kejriwal said that AAP’s government took full responsibility for it and said that it would come up with means to check on it.
He said that Delhi air pollution was not merely the national capital’s issue but the country’s concern altogether. “Give us one more year to solve this,” he said.
He also slammed the BJP for politicising the issue and reiterated that the Centre needs to step in as Delhi alone cannot fix this.
Hits out at BJP for playing blame game
“Blame-game is not going to help and is not a solution to this issue,” he said. “The Centre needs to step in as the problem is not just in Delhi but also in other northern states,” Kejriwal said while hitting out at the Centre, which he said, was doing nothing to resolve the issue but blaming AAP governments in Delhi and Punjab.
His response came in the wake of stringent criticism of the AAP leader for increasing pollution in the city. BJP leader Tajinder Bagga even put-up posters in the city comparing Kejriwal to Hitler. Bagga tweeted that Kejriwal had turned the city into a gas chamber.
Ban on certain vehicles
Meanwhile, the Delhi government on Saturday morning used water sprinklers in several areas to bring the pollution levels down. Kejriwal government also decided to implement the anti-pollution curbs recommended by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), including a ban on non-BS VI diesel-run light motor vehicles.
Diesel-operated medium and heavy goods vehicles registered in Delhi will not be allowed to ply in Delhi except those carrying essential commodities or providing essential services.
Violation of the Delhi government’s ban on plying of certain vehicles owing to the rise in pollution will attract a penalty of Rs 20,000.
However, all CNG and electric trucks would be allowed to enter Delhi, according to an order by the Transport Department.
According to a CSE study, much of the pollution between October 21 to 26 from within the city was caused by vehicular emissions. CSE’s analysis of data from October 21 to 26 found that of the local sources of pollution, vehicular emissions may have contributed around 51 per cent to the PM2.5 levels in Delhi. The analysis also found that Delhi’s local sources caused around 32.9 per cent of the pollution in the city.