Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party should not politicise the matter of air pollution in the National Capital.
He made the statement a day after Delhi recorded its worst air pollution since December 26 last year. The city recorded a 24-hour average air quality of index of 424 at 4 pm on Tuesday, according to PTI. On December 26, the National Capital recorded an air quality index of 459.
A reading of above 400 is considered to be in the “severe” category, and can affect healthy people and seriously impact those with existing illnesses.
Rai said that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government should co-operate with farmers to end stubble burning, rather than abusing them. He alleged that the BJP was blaming farmers for air pollution because they protested against the farm laws introduced by the Centre in 2020.
“They now want FIRs [first information reports] to be filed against them,” Rai said in a press conference. “They should stop abusing farmers, stop seeking revenge from them.”
He added that farmers were forced to burn stubble in Punjab because the Centre did not support the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab in providing cash incentives to them for not burning crop residue.
Rai also said that the Commission for Air Quality Management has come up with a plan, which will have to be implemented in Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Gurugram and Bahadurgarh. “According to a study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment, 69% of the air pollution in Delhi comes from outside,” the minister said.
The study also found that 31% of Delhi’s pollution is generated through vehicles, and construction work in the city, he said.
“We will need cooperation from the BJP governments in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to bring down the air pollution in Delhi,” Rai said.
Rai’s comments came after the AAP government on Tuesday fined the construction firm Larsen and Toubro Rs 5 lakh for violating the ban on construction and demolition work. The AAP leader said that the construction work was being carried out for a BJP office.