Commenting on Delhi-NCR’s air pollution, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – ruling in both Delhi and Punjab – should own responsibility for the issue hours after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged that there should be no blame game on the matter.
“Pollution is an issue everywhere; there are certain responsibilities that an elected government has to exercise. They are also there in Punjab, look at the incidents of stubble burning that had gone up in Punjab,” Puri said.
The Arvind Kejriwal administration increased certain efforts on Friday to take control of the situation amidst growing criticism as the capital’s air quality deteriorates. In Delhi, primary schools have been closed until November 8 while government workers are instructed to “work from home” part-time until the situation improves.
Delhi Environment minister Gopal Rai also said that other than essential services, entry of trucks were being banned in the state and measures to control vehicular pollution such as the ‘odd-even’ rule would be considered. He said that a team of senior officials to monitor anti-polluting activities in the state will gear up to implement necessary measures.
Officials cautioned people against going outside unless it was absolutely necessary as the air quality index deteriorated to a “severe” category with readings as high as 450. An increase in stubble burning incidents in neighbouring states has ignited the political climate in the town. The Bharatiya Janata Party accused AAP of turning Delhi into a “gas chamber” after more than 3,500 cases were reported in Punjab alone in the previous week. The Delhi chief minister retorted on Friday that “this was not the time for blame game, it won’t help finding solutions.”