New Delhi: Terming the “callous conduct” of state governments of Punjab and Haryana with regard to stubble burning as criminal negligence, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Atishi Wednesday urged the Commission for Air Quality Management to initiate action against the chief ministers of the two states.
Atishi, who is also the chairperson of the Environment Committee of Delhi Assembly, wrote to the commission’s chief, asking him to initiate suo moto proceedings against Punjab and Haryana’s CMs. She shared the letter on Twitter as well.
As Chairperson of Environment Committee of Delhi Assembly, I have written to the Air Quality Commision asking them to take strong action against the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana for their criminal negligence that has caused pollution in Delhi NCR pic.twitter.com/hO1N7Talsx
— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) November 18, 2020
“The chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana are directly responsible for the catastrophic failure on the part of their governments. A strong example should be set this year (so that) such government apathy and inaction do not put millions of lives at risk,” stated the letter.
She further mentioned that as the world grapples with Covid-19, residents of Delhi are also “fighting a war against the unbearable air pollution in the city.”
Elaborating upon how residents continue to breathe in toxic air, the MLA from Kalkaji in south Delhi pointed out that most places in the capital recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 330 as recently as 15 November.
“The adverse consequences of continued exposure to high levels of pollution particularly on the gelatinous infants, children, elderly people and pregnant ladies is well documented,” read the letter, which went on to say that “… with the advent of Covid-19, the mortality rate is expected to increase”.
Cites ICAR data on Delhi pollution
Atishi attributed the misery of Delhi residents to negligence and failure on part of Punjab and Haryana to prevent stubble burning and farm fires in their states.
She also referred to the recent data released by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), that showed a clear co-relation between incidents of farm fires in Punjab and Haryana and an increase in the AQI in New Delhi.
“As per the ICAR, in Punjab alone cases of farm fires started increasing drastically around 15 October 2020 (1,200 cases per day) and reached an alarming level around 15 November (2,500 cases per day).”
The period also saw a steady rise in the pollution levels in Delhi — from less than 200 AQI to more 320 AQI.
She also said when cases of farm fires and stubble burning reduced to 125 cases per day, there was a marked improvement in the air quality in Delhi too. The letter carried a graph to establish this point.
Punjab, Haryana ignored bio-composer aid to tackle stubble burning
The AAP leader stated that the present situation could have been prevented if timely action was taken by the chief ministers of the two neighbouring states.
She also drew attention towards Delhi government having developed a bio-decomposer in collaboration with the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Pusa to specifically tackle the problem of stubble burning, without causing any inconvenience to the farmers.
Calling it cost-effective, Atishi said the Delhi government had urged Punjab and Haryana to provide this bio decomposer free-of-cost to their farmers in October, but the request was not paid heed to.