As the North India continues to reel under the severe smog conditions, voices are growing louder against the practice of stubble-burning specially in states of Punjab and Haryana. Now, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that the Narendra Modi government has already given Rs 1,100 crore to farmers. He asserted that money given by Centre did not reach the farmers. "Delhi government is asking why have we given 40,000 machines to a population of 22 lakh farmers, I want to say that we have given Rs 1,100 crores. Instead of spending Rs 1,500 crore on advertisements, the Delhi government should give this amount to farmers to address the issue of pollution," Javadekar said while addressing reporters in New Delhi on Monday.
However, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has hit out at Javadekar saying that AAP government spent only Rs 40 crore as against Rs 1,500 crore claimed by BJP minister. Javadekar's statement comes amid bitter war of words between leaders of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. While the Aam Aadmi Party government of Delhi has squarely blamed Punjab and Haryana for stubble burning, both states remain steadfast in their approach and said that they can’t do anything due to lukewarm response from the Centre. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has said that the Modi government has not released enough monetary support for farmers.
Under fire for his song and dance tweet on a day when North India registered record-breaking Air Quality Index, Javadekar said that he had held several meetings over stubble burning. "Pollution is genuine problem. When I became the environment minister, I called a meeting of all five states regarding the issue. Seven to eight such meetings have already been held. Another one will happen soon. "The Delhi government must check out the directions given by CPCB regarding pollution and should tell how much has it followed," the minister said.
Delhi-NCR woke up to yet another smog-filled morning on Monday with no relief from ongoing toxic air conditions. According the ‘System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research’ (SAFAR), the Air Quality Index of Delhi was recorded at 708 at 7:42 am. Neighbouring Noida much worse at AQI of 720. The worst zone in the NCR was Gurugram at scary AQI of 833. The breathable level according to SAFAR is between 0 and 50. Ghaziabad continues to reel under deadly smog with the Central Pollution Control Board registering AQI under ‘severe’ category. Indirapuram recorded AQI of 471, Vasundhara registered AQI of 465 and Loni was reeling under 485.
The Air Quality Index is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms, which are easy to understand. It transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and colour. There are six AQI categories, namely Good + Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe.
On Sunday, low visibility due to heavy smog disrupted flight operations at the Delhi airport, with 37 flights diverted to other airports and more than 250 departures and 300 arrivals delayed, officials said. Pollution levels in Delhi peaked to a three-year high on Sunday.