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Gaurav Bhatia hits out at Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann over Delhi pollution, calls for their resignation
New Delhi: Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia Tuesday hit out at the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann by organizing a press conference over the city's air quality deteriorated to the 'severe' category.
Gaurav Bhatia reprimanded Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal for not being able to control the city's pollution and demanded Delhi CM's resignation. "The Central government has provided all facilities and machines to Kejriwal so that the pollution of stubble burning is reduced and the air is not poisonous. But even after having 1 lakh 20 thousand machines, the Punjab government did not use them," Gaurav Bhatia said.
"Earlier, Kejriwal used to put the blame for the pollution problem on his neighbouring state. Now AAP is ruling the Punjab and the problem of farm fires has not been obviated. What's your answer, Kejriwal Ji?" BJP spokesperson said.
Gaurav Bhatia also sieged AAP over the increase of 30 per cent in the cases of stubble burning in Punjab. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is providing funds to the states without any discrimination and rising above party politics. The reports also prove that Punjab was given the maximum amount of Rs 1,300 crore and Haryana Rs 693 crore for stubble disposal," Bhatia said.
"Still, on the other hand, 7,648 cases of stubble burning were reported in Punjab during the year 2021-22, which increased to 10,214 in the year 2022-23. Thus there was an increase of 33 per cent in the incidence of stubble burning in Punjab," Gaurav Bhatia said further.
Earlier, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar claimed that the cases of stubble burning in Haryana are not even 10 per cent of that in Punjab.
"There are not even 10 per cent cases of stubble burning in Haryana as compared to Punjab. Last year there were 2,561 incidents of stubble burning, whereas it has decreased to 1,925 this year while 13,873 incidents have taken place in Punjab this year," Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar said while addressing a press conference in Chandigarh on Monday.
Notably, Stubble burning had turned worse across Punjab, giving no hope of improvement in Delhi's Air Quality Index (AQI) as the capital gasps for clean air.
Increasing incidents of stubble burning in Punjab this year have become a matter of serious concern with the Union Environment Ministry pointing out that the AQI is likely to sharply deteriorate as only about 45-50 per cent of sown area in the state had been harvested till October 24.
Sources in the Environment Ministry had told ANI that the contribution of stubble burning to the adverse air quality in Delhi and the National Capital Region has been increasing sharply and is about 18-20 per cent currently with the trend only likely to increase further.
As per the Standard Protocol developed by ISRO for Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), for the period September 15, 2022, to October 26, 2022, total paddy residue burning events reported in Punjab were 7,036 compared to 6,463 for the same period during the last year.
CAQM further stated that about 70 per cent of farm fires during the current paddy harvesting season were reported only from six districts namely Amritsar, Firozpur, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Patiala, and Tarn Taran.
These districts account for 4,899 cases against a total of 7,036 incidents in Punjab. These traditional six hotspot districts also accounted for about 65 per cent of the total burning incidents during the last year for the same period. Out of a total of 7,036 reported cases, 4,315 stubble-burning incidences were reported during the last six days alone i.e., about 61 per cent.
As per the Standard ISRO Protocol, for the period of September 15 - October 28 this year, a total of 10,214 paddy residue burning events have been reported in Punjab compared to 7,648 for the same period during the last year, which is a significant increase of about 33.5 per cent.
Out of the total 10,214 reported cases, 7,100 stubble-burning incidents were reported in the last 7 days alone which is about 69 per cent, added the official. (ANI)