After drawing flak, 18 of 29 members attend pollution meet

Only four MPs had attended parliamentary panel meeting on November 15

November 21, 2019 02:02 am | Updated 11:48 am IST - New Delhi

Eighteen of the 29 members of the Parliamentary Panel on urban development, including BJP’s Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir, attended a meeting on Delhi pollution on Wednesday. The absence of several members during a similar meeting on November 15 had created a brouhaha.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which is in power in Delhi, ran a campaign against Mr. Gambhir, who was away on a cricket commentary assignment in Indore, for skipping the November 15 meeting. Only four MPs had attended the meeting and most of the senior officials, who were summoned, had given it a miss. The attendees included panel Chairman and BJP MP Jagdambika Pal, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, BJP’s Gujarat MP C.R. Patil and National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi.

‘Scope to do lot more’

All three municipal commissioners, senior officials from Delhi Development Authority, Environment Ministry and Ministry of Urban Development were present at the meeting on Wednesday. The officers gave a detailed presentation on the steps being taken to curb pollution. The members, however, pointed out that there is scope to do a lot more.

According to sources, AAP MP Sanjay Singh pointed out that the Environment Ministry had itself in a recent Parliament answer said that 46% of the pollution is caused by stubble burning. However, it has not taken any steps to stop it. He said that out of 21,000 machines needed to dispose of stubble, only 5,000 have so far been purchased by the Ministry.

Mr. Gambhir also took up the issue of Ghazipur landfill.

The committee has asked the various department heads, who attended the meeting, to draw a detailed action-plan and come up with concrete solutions, sources said. The members also asked the various departments to ensure that they do not work in silos.

Members expressed satisfaction with a high power committee set up under the Prime Minister’s Office to monitor the situation, said sources. The committee is likely to hold one more meeting on the issue, a member said.

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