Delhi Lt Governor To Bhagwant Mann On Air Crisis

Delhi Lt Governor To Bhagwant Mann On Air Crisis

“Incidents of stubble burning have increased by a whopping 19%,” he said.

New Delhi:

Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor (LG), VK Saxena, today wrote a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on the “health emergency” in the national capital, urging him to take immediate measures to control stubble burning in his state. 

“It is with a sense of deep anguish that I wish to draw your attention towards the pain and suffering that the people of Delhi are experiencing for no fault of theirs,” his letter stated, and appealed to Mr Mann to take “urgent and substantive measures” regarding farm fires which he said have turned Delhi into a “gas chamber”.

“The existing situation, all would agree, is violative of the citizen’s fundamental right to health and the right to life,” he said.

Incidents of stubble burning have increased by a whopping 19% in the period between October 24 to November 2, as compared to the corresponding period in 2021, the LG said, adding that “authentic data” on Parali (stubble) burning presents an alarming picture. 

He said every common citizen is facing “incessant burning of eyes, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, and laboured breathing amongst other respiratory discomforts”. 

The severe air pollution and consequent restrictions are hurting socio-economic activities as well, Mr Saxena pointed out.

He expressed surprise that even after several measures taken to mitigate the annual phenomenon, including spending crores to promote and publicise a ‘bio-decomposer’ for use by farmers, incidents of stubble burning in Punjab have shot up “severely affecting air quality in the National Capital amongst other places”.

The LG said, “certain elements”, instead of dealing with the issue at hand, are indulging in “unjustifiable blame games and excuses” and trying to shirk responsibilities, even in the face of a serious crisis situation. 

Mr Saxena urged Bhagwant Mann to galvanize all available resources and machinery to make the farmers become willing partners in defeating this “repetitive menace”.

Mr Mann, along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, earlier today held a press conference appealing for a joint front against air pollution. The Aam Aadmi Party chief took responsibility for increasing farm fires and called for a joint effort “without pointing fingers”. 

The Punjab Chief Minister claimed that stubble burning is increasing because farm produce is also at record highs. He also said his government is looking at diversifying from paddy next year as long as farmers get Minimum Support Prices.

Stubble burning’s contribution to Delhi’s pollution is 34%, according to the Ministry of Earth Sciences agency SAFAR. It’s an increase from the 7% share this time last year. P

Punjab has reported an increase of over 20% in stubble-burning cases, while Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have reported a fall of around 30%, according to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. The Punjab government blames the Centre for not contributing to bringing down stubble burning.

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