NEW DELHI: The BJP on Wednesday slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his handling of severe pollution in the national capital as it cited figures to allege that the city government spent 4,000 times more on advertising its promotion of a bio-decomposer, which destroys farm stubble without causing air pollution, than it did on purchase of the chemical.
Citing an RTI reply and also an answer provided by the city government in the assembly, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation had spent Rs 40,000 on purchasing the decomposer from Pusa and 310 farmers in the national capital benefitted from it.
In addition, Rs 35,780 was spent on jaggery and besan, which was mixed with the chemical, Rs 13.20 lakh on hiring tractors and Rs 9.64 lakh on tentage for the work, Patra said sarcastically. The Kejriwal government also spent over Rs 15.80 crore to "educate" farmers across the country about the product through advertisements, the BJP leader said, noting that the vast sum was over 4,000 times more than the money spent on procuring it.
The money would have been much better spent in curbing pollution in Delhi than educating farmers about its benefits in states like Kerala, he said, slamming Kejriwal for blaming other states for the problem while doing little.
"Advertisement everywhere but no work," he said, attacking the chief minister. Patra wondered if farmers of Punjab and Haryana were most responsible for air pollution in Delhi, then these two states should also have been more polluted.
He noted that the Supreme Court in a hearing on the pollution in Delhi had also pulled up the government for its attempt to blame municipal bodies, which are run by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Delhi BJP president Adesh Kumar Gupta accused Kejriwal of dealing with the crisis "casually" and noted that most of the promises he had made to tackle the issue remain unfulfilled.
The local party unit will present a cheque of Rs 40,000 to Kejriwal to "join" his fight against pollution, he said.