Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday sought a meeting with his counterparts in Punjab and Haryana to discuss ways to tackle the alarming air pollution levels in Delhi.
Kejriwal said the governments in the neighbouring states had failed to provide farmers with viable alternatives to stubble burning, a process that leads to air pollution in Delhi.
However, replying to Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that he shares the concern over stubble burning and pollution but it is not a matter for inter-state discussion.
“Share your concern over stubble burning and pollution, Centre alone can solve the problem given its national implications. Situation is serious but Punjab helpless as problem is widespread & state has no money to compensate farmers for stubble management,” Amarinder Singh replied to Kejriwal in a series of Tweet.
The Delhi Chief Minister said that he agrees that Centre should take a lead but requested Punjab Chief Minister to grant him time to discuss. “If together we can present a plan to centre… Delhi is choking sir,” he said.
Stating that it would be best if they met, Kejriwal added, “Could u kindly share estimated funds required? Both of us together can urge center. It will help people of both states.”
However, Amarinder Singh said that it is not a matter for inter-state discussion and that won’t help. “It requires central govt intervention, at the earliest,” he added.
Meanwhile, in view of increasing air pollution, Delhi is gearing up for yet another round of odd-even rule, as Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday directed the Transport Department to start preparing for the same.
Baijal also directed Municipal Corporations, DDA and SDMs to strictly enforce a prohibition on open burning.
In addition, Delhi Metro parking rates will be increased four times the prevalence rates from tomorrow onwards, in a bid to discourage use of private vehicles.
The Delhi government has already announced that all schools in the national capital will remain closed till Sunday because of the toxic air.
It also issued a health advisory for high-risk people, including children, the elderly, pregnant women and those suffering from asthma and heart ailments, asking them to avoid, among other things, early morning and evening walks.
The Indian Medical Association said the capital was witnessing a “public health emergency” and appealed to the government to stop outdoor sports and other such activities in schools to protect the health of children.