NEW DELHI: Moved by her first-hand feel of toxic air in Delhi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced an investment of 1 billion Euros on climate protection and green urban mobility projects, including electric buses, under the new German-Indian partnership.
“Whoever has looked at pollution in Delhi yesterday (Friday) would find very good arguments to replacing diesel buses with electric buses,” Merkel said after a meeting with business leaders. She also announced 200 million Euros to reform the bus sector in Tamil Nadu.
With share of stubble burning reduced from 44% on Friday — the season’s highest— to 17% on Saturday, pollution levels in Delhi and NCR dropped marginally, even as Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar expressed anguish at the “unprecedented situation in Delhi” and partially owned the blame for failure to stop stubble burning.
Amarinder urged the Centre to provide farmers with a bonus to manage stubble while Khattar wrote to Union Minister Prakash Javadekar requesting him to convene a meeting of CMs of Delhi and neighbouring states to prepare a joint strategy.
Amarinder, Khattar say its a ‘disaster’
“How can a country be called developed when its capital has been reduced to a gas chamber, not by any natural disaster but a series of man-made ones?” Amarinder Singh said. Khattar agreed that “the ongoing public health emergency in NCR is a matter of serious concern”.
Delhi’s air quality to remain severe
Delhi’s overall air quality index (AQI) stood at 407 at 10 am on Saturday, down slightly from the ‘very severe’ 484 recorded at 4 pm on Friday. According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality monitor, SAFAR, Delhi’s air quality is likely to remain ‘severe’ due to calm winds.