CM stresses on ur­gent ac­tion to curb farm fires

Writes To Cen­tre, Coun­ter­parts In Haryana And Pun­jab

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK CM KEJRIWAL

New Delhi: With many farm fires be­ing re­ported in the last few days, chief min­is­ter Arvind Kejriwal on Thurs­day sent a let­ter to his Pun­jab and Haryana coun­ter­parts and the Cen­tre seek­ing “ur­gent and bold ac­tion” to deal with stubble burn­ing dur­ing win­ter.

Kejriwal wrote that burn­ing of crop residue in Pun­jab and Haryana was a big con­trib­u­tor to air pol­lu­tion in Delhi in the months of Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber.

In his let­ter to Union en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Prakash Javadekar, Pun­jab CM Amarinder Singh and Haryana CM ML Khat­tar, Kejriwal said his govern­ment was tak­ing “lo­cal mea­sures” and had al­ready an­nounced its ac­tion plan, in­clud­ing the odd-even road ra­tioning scheme from Novem­ber 4-15, to tackle air pol­lu­tion.

He ap­pre­ci­ated that the cen­tral and state gov­ernTh­ese are pic­tures of our beau­ti­ful Delhi taken to­day, from the top of the Sig­na­ture Bridge...It has been many years since I have seen such clear, blue skies ments were mak­ing ef­forts, but more was re­quired to be done to stop pol­lu­tion. “There is lit­tle that the peo­ple of Delhi can do to fight pol­lu­tion due to crop stubble burn­ing,” the CM said in his let­ter.

“Un­for­tu­nately, high lev­els of air pol­lu­tion in the win­ter months in the en­tire north In­dia puts to risk the health of all our peo­ple, es­pe­cially chil­dren and the el­derly. The grav­ity of this is­sue calls for bold, ur­gent ac­tion,” Kejriwal said, adding that the health of peo­ple was the fore­most re­spon­si­bil­ity of any govern­ment.

Satel­lite mon­i­tor­ing data had re­ported more than 100 cases of farm fires in Pun­jab and afew in Haryana days af­ter the Pun­jab and Haryana high court ruled that the two states can­not fine farm­ers for burn­ing crop residue, of­fi­cial said.

In his let­ter, Kejriwal said Delhi was the only city in the coun­try where pol­lu­tion was on the decline, with the con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5 re­duc­ing by 25% in the last three years. The lat­est rank­ings of the most-pol­luted cities in the world brings home a harsh re­al­ity. Seven of the 10 most-pol­luted cities are in In­dia. While Delhi ranks 11th on this list, the top three In­dian cities are Gur­gaon, Ghazi­abad and Faridabad.

The AAP govern­ment had re­cently an­nounced a sev­en­point ac­tion plan, in­clud­ing road ra­tioning, com­mu­nity Di­wali events, laser show and dis­tri­bu­tion of masks, to keep pol­lu­tion lev­els in check and mit­i­gate its ef­fects in the na­tional cap­i­tal. The govern­ment has al­ready be­gun con­sul­ta­tions on the com­mu­nity Di­wali events to en­cour­age peo­ple to give up crack­ers and en­joy the fes­ti­val with a laser show in­stead.

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