“I also urged for action against the Delhi Pollution Control Committee chairman who, without the government’s approval, shut down the smog tower and curtailed a source apportionment study,” Gopal Rai said.
New Delhi: Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena held a meeting with Environment Minister Gopal Rai amid severe air pollution in the city on Friday, in which a decision was taken to appeal neighbouring states, particularly Punjab, to check paddy stubble burning.
The meeting also decided to adopt interim measures such as issuing advisories by the Environment department asking people, especially children and the elderly, to take extra care and remain indoors as far as possible, preparedness by the Health department and optimal use of mechanised road sweepers, water sprinklers and anti-smog guns. The meeting chaired by the LG could not be attended by the chief minister who was out of Delhi, according to a Raj Niwas statement.
After the meeting, Rai told reporters that he urged the LG for issuing directions to senior officers to not “boycott” the government and attend meetings and remain cooperative and active for implementation of the decisions on the ground.
“I also urged for action against the Delhi Pollution Control Committee chairman who, without the government’s approval, shut down the smog tower and curtailed a source apportionment study,” Rai said.
He said the BJP is in power at the Centre and in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and added that he appealed for a cooperative and consultative approach to work against pollution.
The Raj Niwas statement said that it was decided in the meeting that under the interim measures an appeal will be made to people to remain indoors as far as possible, avoid unnecessary travel and if necessary, to use public transport, so as to ensure lesser volume of traffic and therefore, reduced emissions and dust pollution.
Strict implementation of Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) measures with regards to the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) on the ground was also decided in the meeting.
“It was decided to appeal to the neighbouring states, especially Punjab, which accounted for 1,921 (71.57 per cent) incidents of parali (stubble) burning out of a total of 2,684 such events on November 1, to curtail crop residue burning by incentivising farmers so that the resultant smoke in the region could be checked,” said the statement.
Apart from Punjab, 99 cases of ‘parali’ burning were reported in Haryana, 95 in Uttar Pradesh and 60 in Rajasthan. The LG reiterated the need to put in place a long-term permanent plan of action, which is earnestly implemented once the ongoing emergency gets over.
Earlier, the Lt Governor in a post on X said that the air pollution situation in the city is “extremely worrying” and called a meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Environment Minister Gopal Rai at Raj Niwas.
“I appeal to the people to remain indoors as much as possible and to not expose themselves- especially children & elderly to hazardous ambient conditions wherein AQI has reportedly crossed 800 at places,” he said in a post.
The LG has also cancelled his public engagements at Yogmaya Mandir and Urs of Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya.
(With PTI Inputs)