Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan has dismissed the Aam Aadmi Party’s allegation that the Central government was not doing enough to combat the smog that has been choking the capital, NDTV reported.

AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Gopal Rai was quoted as saying by PTI that the minister was missing in action at the time of crisis. “Why is the Centre mum over this problem,” Rai had asked. “The BJP and Congress are projecting the crisis in a way that the Delhi government is doing nothing. We appeal to both these parties that Delhi government wants to work keeping all its political differences aside.”

In response, Vardhan said that surgical strikes cannot be launched against pollution and that the solution to the problem has to be devised by the states. He said Punjab and Haryana will not be given more funds to stop farmers from burning stubble, which is one of the primary reasons behind the worsening air quality. It is the responsibility of the states and they cannot “take it casually”, he added.

“Now the states are getting much, much more funds...it is not fair for the states to pass the buck,” the environment minister said.

Vardhan also criticised the Delhi government’s decision to bring back the odd-even scheme, calling it an example of inflicting “one suffering to alleviate another”.