AAP govt. announces winter action plan to tackle pollution

Kejriwal appeals to Centre to combat stubble burning, convert vehicles to CNG

Published - October 05, 2021 01:13 am IST - New Delhi

Workers burn stubble on the banks of the Yamuna on Monday.

Workers burn stubble on the banks of the Yamuna on Monday.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced a 10-point action plan to combat pollution during winters when the Capital’s air quality reaches hazardous levels every year.

Mr. Kejriwal, however, accused the Centre and governments of neighbouring States of not having done anything to stop stubble burning due to which farmers are forced to burn stubble.

Apart from appealing that stubble burning be combatted through the bio-decomposer technique like in Delhi, he also demanded that the Centre and States ensure that vehicles coming to Delhi should be converted to CNG and industries operating in the NCR run on PNG.

“The smoke generated from stubble burning will breach into Delhi and increase the pollution levels here,” Mr. Kejriwal told a digital briefing.

Measures taken

The AAP government had, since coming to power, started supplying electricity 24x7 which had eliminated the use of thousands of lakhs of generator sets, taken concrete steps against dust pollution at construction sites and shut down two thermal plants operating in the city.

The construction of the Peripheral Expressways on both the sides of Delhi by the Centre too, had helped in the city’s fight against pollution even as Delhi’s industrial units had switched to PNG and the implementation of the electric vehicle policy was ongoing.

“The Delhi government found a solution to stop stubble burning in the form of bio-decomposer. We are in touch with the Centre and hope that the solution will be implemented as much as possible,” he added. “To prevent stubble burning, the bio-decomposer solution will be sprayed throughout Delhi for free by us. If the governments of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh also use this solution properly, then stubble burning pollution can be eliminated,” he said.

“We are putting together a total of 75 teams in Delhi. These teams will inspect different locations of construction sites and dust will be controlled by imposing heavy penalties. To stop the burning of garbage, we have started patrolling, wherein 250 teams will find the same and charge fines,” he said.

India’s first smog tower, the Chief Minister said, had been set up in Delhi and was showing successful results which would be monitored for a few more days following which a decision on installing more would be taken. Pollution hotspots were being monitored through green war room round the clock while 50 new environment engineers had also been recruited for it.

“To control vehicular pollution, 64 roads have been identified where traffic jams are frequently experienced and 500 teams have been set up to check PUC certificates. Petrol-driven vehicles of more than 10 years and diesel-driven vehicles of more than 15 years will be scrapped off,” he said.

“We will ensure maximum public participation to control pollution by launching public campaigns. Details of the campaign will be put forward in a few days so that we can start working on it as soon as we can,” he added.

“These are our appeals with the motive of coming together and joining hands to make our air purer and cleaner and our health, healthier,” he added.

BJP calls it ‘lies’

Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta alleged that the action plan by the government was a “bundle of lies”. A similar plan announced by the government in 2018, Mr. Gupta argued, was yet to have any visible impact on the ground.

“Winters are round the corner and the pollution problem will increase, but till date Kejriwal has not held a meeting with the neighbouring States. He will now put the blame on neighbouring States in the name of stubble burning and won’t own any responsibility,” he alleged.

Mr. Gupta sought to advise the CM to do actual work on the ground instead of making “tall promises” so as to save Delhiites from the “strangulating pollution”.

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