North India Air pollution: Khattar, Kejriwal discuss stubble burning, vehicular emission; pledge to fight smog in 2018

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday had rejected Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's plea for a meeting on stubble-burning and air pollution in the National Capital Region.

Published: 15th November 2017 09:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2017 08:05 PM   |  A+A-

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal shakes hands with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after a meeting in Chandigarh on Wednesday. | PTI

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: The Haryana and Delhi governments on Wednesday resolved to work jointly to sort out the issue of the smog in Delhi and adjoining areas and to prevent its recurrence in next year’s winter.
 
A consensus and plan of action were worked out at a meeting between Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal here.
 
A joint statement issued after the meeting stated that the CMs “covered crop residue burning and vehicular pollution issues. We resolve to put in sustained efforts in pursuance of the jointly identified action points in the coming weeks and months”. Both agreed that the serious health risks to which such smog exposes people require concrete and quick action on a number of fronts.
 
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has refused to meet Kejriwal saying, “It is not a matter for inter-state discussion and requires the Centre’s intervention at the earliest.”
 
Earlier Khattar had snubbed Kejriwal and had asked him what steps had he taken to end crop residue burning by farmers as air pollution peaked to alarming levels. In a letter dated November 10, Khattar said he was open to meet Kejriwal to find a solution to the issue.

“What steps did Kejriwal take for stubble burning over 40,000 hectares of land in Delhi? I write this in response to your letter dated November 8. I believe no single person, organisation or government can improve the quality of air. Such collective problems require everyone to do their bit... A strong mechanism is needed to enhance the outcome of such constructive steps,” Khattar had written.

Punjab Minister for Irrigation and Power Rana Gurjeet Singh on Wednesday asked Kejriwal not to try to outsource solutions to his own problems. He said the stubble burning did not constitute more than 25 per cent pollution in Delhi and the actual cause was something else.

He pointed out that stubble burning was only a momentary problem while Delhi faced a severe chronic problem. He said that Kejriwal, by trying to involve the Punjab and Haryana governments, was aiming at shifting the blame and diverting the attention of the people of Delhi.
 
“The solution to problems in Delhi does not lie in Punjab or Haryana, but Delhi itself and you need to understand that,” Rana told Kejriwal, and suggested he identify the potential pollutants in Delhi and look for suggestions.
 
The minister said that prior to the Beijing Olympics 2008, the Chinese government invoked modern scientific methods, including artificial rain, to clear it the smog over the city.

“Why can’t the Delhi government invoke similar methods instead of trying to blame other states?” Rana asked Kejriwal.

Congress and SAD show black flags to Kejriwal in Chandigarh

Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal workers showed black flags to Kejriwal’s cavalcade outside Chandigarh International Airport and shouted slogans against him demanding the resignation of AAP’s Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who has been summoned by a Fazilka court in a drug case.

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