NEW DELHI: The blame game over soaring air pollution levels in the national capital continued on Saturday, with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accusing Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar of cancelling three meetings over the last two months to discuss stubble burning and its impact on air quality.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Sisodia said, “It appears that the Union environment minister doesn’t have time to meet his state counterparts to address an urgent matter concerning the whole of north India right now. Meetings to discuss stubble burning were scheduled on September 12, October 17 and October 19. But they were cancelled. This only goes to show the misplaced priorities of the central government. What has the central government done apart from paying lip service?”
The war of words between rival political camps intensified post-Diwali, as the city was shrouded by a thick cloud of toxic smoke, blamed on the bursting of crackers and crop residue burning in neighbouring states. Both the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government have since been trading blame over the prevailing situation.
यह दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण है कि दिल्ली के मुख्यमंत्री @ArvindKejriwal #वायुप्रदूषण के मुद्दे का राजनीतिकरण कर रहे हैं और छात्रों को हरियाणा और पंजाब के मुख्यमंत्री को पत्र लिखने के लिए उकसा रहे हैं ताकि उन्हें नाकाम और खलनायक के रूप में प्रस्तुत किया जाए।#AirPollution pic.twitter.com/pkJrkvAi1d— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) November 2, 2019
While Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal put the onus on his counterparts in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana to crack down on stubble burning, the BJP accused the Delhi government of waking up late to the crisis and contesting data suggesting that stubble burning was responsible for air pollution in the city.
Javadekar, had, in a series of tweets, claimed that the Centre has taken a host of measures, including expansion of Delhi Metro and construction of western and eastern peripheral expressways to cut vehicular emission. However, the Delhi government sat on allocation of funds for these projects, he said.