Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on November 6 called for an emergency meeting to take stock on recent measures announced to combat the soaring pollution levels in the national capital.
Spelling out a list of measures, Kejriwal announced a ban on construction activity for the next ten days and shutting down the city’s Badarpur power plant for the next five days. Schools will also be remained shut for the next three days, said Kejriwal. The odd-even road rationing scheme may return, water will be sprinkled on roads, and strict action will be taken against the burning of trash.
The meeting was attended by Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Environment Minister Imran Hussain, the Delhi Chief Secretary, and representatives of Police and the civic bodies.
Kejriwal also met Environment Minister Anil Dave and sought Centre’s urgent intervention to deal with the challenge. While calling Delhi a “gas chamber” he blamed farmers in Haryana and Punjab for contributing to the city’s pollution woes. Farmers are burning crop stubble before preparing the field for harvesting.
On his part, Dave said: “There is an emergency situation in Delhi. The situation is bad, particularly for children, patients, women and elderly. We need to take immediate steps to deal with the situation.”
Dave also said the AAP-led Delhi government should stop politicising the issue by blaming other states for the rise in pollution level and deal with the problem to the earliest.
The environment minister claimed that as per ISRO images, the role of neighbouring states is just 20 per cent, so the blaming them won’t work. Dave also claimed that the centre government had already provided help to the Delhi government and it is the state’s responsibility to implement them.
At the moment, Delhi is grappling with the worst smog in 17 years with visibility dipping to 500 metres. Delhi’s pollution touched a new high on November 5 with the levels of particulate matter finer than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) crossing the 900 mark in some stations, almost 15 times the permissible levels. It was 996 micrograms per cubic meter (umg/m3) in Anand Vihar as per Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) data. While the PM 2.5 levels crossed 700 mark in colonies such as RK Puram, Mandir Marg, Punjabi Bagh and Civil Lines.
According to environmentalists, Delhi is facing an emergency situation and the government had no action plan. Children and citizens of Delhi also held a protest at Jantar Mantar against the ignorant attitude of the local administration in tackling the pollution menace in the national capital.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on November 4 had pulled up the Centre and Delhi government for failing to curb pollution in Delhi. Earlier, the green panel had asked the Delhi government to ban 10-year-old diesel vehicles from plying on the roads of the national capital.