BJP MP Parvesh Verma on Tuesday accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of not doing anything to curb air pollution in the city and criticised him for blaming farmers of neighbouring states for the problem. Participating in a discussion on “Air Pollution and Climate Change” in the Lok Sabha, the West Delhi MP also slammed the AAP government for ignoring major sources of pollution, including vehicles and dust.
Verma was asked by the Chair not to name the Delhi chief minister. Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) have been grappling with hazardous levels of air pollution since late October. The Delhi government has repeatedly asserted that stubble burning by farmers in the neighbouring states contributes significantly to the pollution in the national capital.
Verma claimed Rs 600 crore was spent by the Delhi government on advertisements but little had been actually done to curb pollution.
By blaming the farmers in villages for pollution, he said, the Delhi government was only widening the urban-rural divide.
The BJP MP claimed that the AAP government had spent Rs 70 crore on publicising the odd-even road rationing scheme but did not take steps to increase the number of public buses. People are using personal vehicles due to poor public transport facilities, which is adding to the pollution, he said.
Earlier the chief minister used to cough, but now the entire city and members of the House are coughing, he added. Verma claimed that the situation in the national capital has reached a point where many residents want to leave Delhi. He said the Delhi chief minister purchased 50 lakh pollution masks that “are of no use to the people”.
Verma also appealed to the members of the House to donate Rs 2 crore from their Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme fund for setting up pollution control towers in Delhi as they spend 200 days of the year in the city.
Speaking about the pollution of Yamuna, the BJP leader criticised the Delhi government for not formulating an industrial policy to ensure that untreated waste is not pumped into the river.
Earlier, Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir hit back at the Aam Aadmi Party after being targeted by “missing” posters that said the MP was “last seen eating jalebis in Indore”.
The posters cropped up in Delhi after Gambhir skipped a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development on air pollution in the National Capital Region.
“If my eating jalebi led to the rise in pollution in the national capital then will stop eating jalebis forever. The work that I have done in my five months of tenure as an MP of Delhi is proof of my seriousness for the issue of pollution,” Gambhir told reporters outside Parliament on Monday.
Gambhir, who is the only Lok Sabha MP in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development, skipped the crucial meeting of the panel held on Friday. His absence invited a lot of flak, with AAP leaders launching a concerted campaign against him.
Acknowledging the importance of the meet, Gambhir defended his absence, saying he was under contractual obligation to be in Indore for the India-Bangladesh cricket match commentary.
He then hit back at the AAP and asked the Arvind Kejriwal-led party to focus on curbing pollution rather than attacking him.
The East Delhi MP said he has two small daughters and is sensitive about the issue.