Chandigarh: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday said stubble burning in Punjab was the sole reason behind the rising pollution levels in the national capital as he slammed the Centre for failing to provide straw management machinery to the farmers.
Justifying his claim by showing a satellite picture of stubble burning in Punjab as well as Haryana, Kejriwal rejected the claims that Delhi’s air quality had worsened due to its traffic or industries.
“This is a satellite image… You can see the red spots which indicate stubble burning in several parts of Punjab including Bathinda and Amritsar… There cannot be a more scientific (proof) than this,” Kejriwal said while addressing the media here.
“There is a small portion of Haryana (burning stubble) but its role is quite limited. Otherwise, it (stubble burning) is mostly happening in Punjab,” Kejriwal said, adding that Delhi had neither witnessed a sudden rise in vehicles plying on the road nor new industries had opened up overnight.
Blaming the Centre for the mess, Kejriwal said Union minister Harshvardhan had assured him “a few months ago” that both Punjab and Haryana would get grants to buy machines for managing stubble.
“Harshvardhan had assured me that there was no need to worry as each village in Punjab and Haryana will be given grant to purchase four to five machines (for management of stubble),” Kejriwal said.
“Why did it not happen? He will have to answer it,” he added.
The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) national convener further said the quality of air in Delhi deteriorates every year after October 25, once the farmers begin burning paddy stubble.
“It happens every year between October 25 and November 20 that the pollution levels go up. The reason behind is stubble (burning)… there is no other reason,” said Kejriwal.
“Because of efforts of the Delhi government and the people of Delhi, pollution levels remained under control the whole year. I am not saying it is a good figure but it remained below 200. And now it has jumped suddenly to over 400 after October 25,” added Kejriwal.
Noting that not only Delhiites but residents of the national capital region including Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and surrounding places to have to suffer due to the poor air quality, Kejriwal said everyone will have to “work responsibly” to address the issue.