Den­mark meet not for CMs: Cen­tre BJP govt scared of our work, says AAP

Javadekar, MEA Give Rea­sons For Not Clear­ing Cli­mate Sum­mit Trip of CM

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NETWORK TIMES NEWS NETWORK Jas­jeev.Gand­hiok @times­group.com

New Delhi: The Cen­tre on Wed­nes­day said it had de­nied po­lit­i­cal clear­ance to chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal for trav­el­ling to Den­mark be­cause the global meet was for may­ors and not chief min­is­ters. Ad­dress­ing re­porters af­ter a cabi­net meet­ing, Union min­is­ter Prakash Javadekar said, “This is a mayor-level con­fer­ence and a Ben­gal min­is­ter is go­ing to par­tic­i­pate in it.” The min­is­ter is also the mayor of Kolkata. Javadekar added that there was a sep­a­rate pro­to­col when po­lit­i­cal func­tionar­ies like CMs were in­vited.

Ke­jri­wal was to travel with an eight-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion for a cli­mate sum­mit in Copen­hagen. While the govern­ment can deny that it was tar­get­ing op­po­si­tion lead­ers, de­nial of clear­ance to Ke­jri­wal has at­tracted flak with ac­cu­sa­tions of be­ing mean­minded about send­ing ri­val lead­ers to global con­fer­ences on is­sues that are sup­pos­edly close to this govern­ment’s heart.

When ques­tioned, min­istry of ex­ter­nal af­fairs spokesper­son Raveesh Ku­mar said, “A con­sid­ered de­ci­sion on po­lit­i­cal clear­ance by the min­istry of ex­ter­nal af­fairs is based on mul­ti­ple in­puts and takes into ac­count the na­ture of the event, the level of par­tic­i­pa­tion by other coun­tries, type of in­vi­ta­tion ex­tended etc. In the in­stant case, the par­tic­i­pa­tion of chief min­is­ter of Delhi as a speaker at a panel dis­cus­sion was not com­men­su­rate with the level of par­tic­i­pa­tion from other coun­tries. The chief min­is­ter of one of the largest and pop­u­lous cities in the world, which also is the cap­i­tal of In­dia, was there­fore ad­vised not to at­tend the event.”

This is con­trary to AAP’s claim that the min­istry kept it in the dark un­til the last minute when Ke­jri­wal was asked not to travel to Copen­hagen.

The C40 World May­ors Sum­mit in Copen­hagen, its pro­mo­tional lit­er­a­ture says, “will build a global coali­tion of lead­ing cities, busi­nesses and cit­i­zens that ral­lies around the rad­i­cal and am­bi­tious cli­mate ac­tion our planet needs”.

While it is an un­re­lated is­sue, high-level po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ac­tions with Den­mark are frowned upon by In­dian govern­ment be­cause of the un­re­solved is­sue of Kim Davy, an ac­cused in the Pu­ru­lia arms drop case. Den­mark has re­fused to hand over Davy, who pi­loted the air­craft from which the cache was dumped in West Ben­gal.

The two coun­tries have been mak­ing at­tempts to get be­yond this prob­lem and PM Naren­dra Modi has met the Dan­ish PM and for­eign min­is­ter in the past few years. New Delhi: Slam­ming the Cen­tre for re­fus­ing per­mis­sion to chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal to at­tend the cli­mate sum­mit in Den­mark, Aam Aadmi Party said on Wed­nes­day that the Naren­dra Modi govern­ment was “scared” of the work done by Delhi govern­ment and did not want it to be pre­sented to the world. Re­but­ting Union min­is­ter’s Prakash Javadekar’s claim that the sum­mit was a “may­oral level” event, AAP said it was a “lame ex­cuse” and that for­mer chief min­is­ter Sheila Dik­shit had also at­tended it in 2007.

The party al­leged there was a pat­tern in deny­ing per­mis­sion to Ke­jri­wal’s min­is­ters for such con­fer­ences and sum­mits abroad and other clear­ances too had been with­held to pre­vent them from talk­ing about Delhi govern­ment’s achieve­ments on in­ter­na­tional plat­forms. Delhi govern­ment sources said MEA had com­mu­ni­cated to them that the re­quest was ex­am­ined but de­nied “clear­ance from po­lit­i­cal an­gle”.

AAP Ra­jya Sabha MP and Delhi Vid­han Sabha elec­tion in-charge San­jay Singh said they would raise the is­sue in the up­com­ing assem­bly elec­tions in the cap­i­tal. He said Ke­jri­wal was go­ing to the sum­mit to dis­cuss how Delhi had man­aged to bring down the air pol­lu­tion lev­els by 25% through var­i­ous steps and by re­fus­ing him clear­ance, the Cen­tre had “dis­re­spected” the peo­ple of the city.

He said the Cen­tre had ear­lier de­nied per­mis­sions to deputy chief min­is­ter Man­ish Siso­dia and health min­is­ter Satyen­dar Jain. “Why is BJP scared of the work done by the Ke­jri­wal govern­ment? Delhi govern­ment has done a re­mark­able job by im­prov­ing the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion and health and ev­ery govern­ment school has good in­fra­struc­ture and sports fa­cil­i­ties. The Cen­tre does not want us to tell the world about these achieve­ments,” he added.

AAP na­tional spokesper­son Raghav Chadha said, “Mr Javadekar did not check his facts be­fore speak­ing. He is clearly un­aware of the ad­min­is­tra­tive struc­ture of ma­jor cities and city states...Mul­ti­lat­eral sum­mits like C40 choose their in­vi­tees care­fully. Is Mr Javadekar try­ing to say that he knows more than the or­gan­is­ers of this sum­mit, which is be­ing at­tended by nearly 100 ma­jor cities, on who should have been in­vited?”

There are cities in which may­ors have more pow­ers than the elected CM of Delhi though their roles are more or less sim­i­lar, he added.

EX­CHANG­ING FIRE

New Delhi: On Dussehra, hun­dreds of Ra­vana ef­fi­gies went up in flames in dif­fer­ent parts of the cap­i­tal. By mid­night, pol­lu­tion spiked ow­ing to both the low tem­per­a­ture and a mix of toxic fumes. Delhi’s over­all Air Qual­ity In­dex (AQI) on Dussehra at 4pm was112 (mod­er­ate), but 24 hours later CPCB’s daily air qual­ity bul­letin read 173 (mod­er­ate), which was a con­sid­er­able spike.

How­ever, this was the clean­est post-Dussehra day Delhi has recorded since 2015. On Oc­to­ber 9, 2018, the air qual­ity was in the “poor” cat­e­gory with AQI touch­ing 251. Ex­perts at­tribute the im­prove­ment this year to a mix of fac­tors, in­clud­ing favourable me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions, bet­ter pre­pared­ness and a switch to green crack­ers and “dig­i­tal” ef­figy burn­ing, among oth­ers.

“The pol­lu­tion level spiked like ev­ery year post ef­figy burn­ing. How­ever, this year air qual­ity was bet­ter than last year. Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions played a big part be­cause of a de­layed mon­soon. The ef­forts made by peo­ple also needs to be ac­knowl­edged. Ex­e­cu­tion of mea­sures un­der GRAP and co­or­di­na­tion among agen­cies be­gan much ear­lier, which helped too,” said An­u­mita Roy Chowd­hury, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor (re­search and ad­vo­cacy) at Cen­tre for Sci­ence and En­vi­ron­ment.

VK Shukla, head of CPCB’s air qual­ity lab, said while north­west­erly winds blow­ing in the re­gion will neg­a­tively im­pact Delhi, the ef­fect of the mois­ture-laden east­erly winds and a pro­longed mon­soon has helped main­tain good air qual­ity lev­els.

“AQI has largely re­mained in the sat­is­fac­tory to mod­er­ate range. That’s why it has stayed in the mod­er­ate range de­spite emis­sions from ef­figy burn­ing. Ac­tion on the ground from Septem­ber and peo­ple’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in re­duc­ing crack­ers has cer­tainly helped,” said Shukla, adding that 46 teams had been de­ployed by CPCB on Mon­day to keep a tab on pol­lu­tion vi­o­la­tions.

A host of eco-friendly al­ter­na­tives were seen in the city’s Ramlilas this year. From em­ploy­ing au­dio sys­tems mim­ick­ing the sound of crack­ers to sim­ply burn­ing the ef­figy or us­ing green crack­ers, most cel­e­bra­tions were aimed at be­ing rel­a­tively green.

The Supreme Court-man­dated EPCA in a let­ter through its chair­man Bhure Lal on Wed­nes­day warned of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in Delhi’s air qual­ity from Oc­to­ber 12 on­wards with a fore­cast of ad­verse weather con­di­tions. “EPCA has been ad­vised by the task­force on GRAPthat be­gin­ning Oc­to­ber 12 ad­verse weather con­di­tions are pro­jected, which ex­ac­er­bate the po­ten­tial for pol­lu­tion,” said Lal.

Cur­rently, Delhi is see­ing east­erly winds. How­ever, IMD said this will quickly switch to north­west­erly with slow wind speeds un­likely to bring about much change in air qual­ity. “We are likely to see sim­i­lar air qual­ity in the next few days,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, sci­en­tist at IMD.

Arvind Ke­jri­wal

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