The BJP on Saturday said local factors are the main reason behind air pollution in Delhi and accused the city government of trying to shift the blame to the Centre with its suggestion that stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana is the leading factor. BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma said at a briefing that the air quality index in the national capital had improved on Friday despite the contribution of stubble burning to PM 2.5, increasing from Thursday’s six per cent to 18 per cent.
This conforms with the finding of a 2015 IIT Kanpur study which stated that the main factors contributing to the air pollution in Delhi are road dust (38 per cent) vehicular pollution (20 per cent) and domestic sources (12 per cent). “This means 70 per cent of Delhi’s air pollution woes are due to local factors. Why does the Delhi government then always look towards Punjab and Haryana to shift the blame of pollution management on the central government,” Sharma asked.
While the Delhi government allocated a meagre Rs 52 crore for environment out of its budget of 65,000 crore, the central government earmarked Rs 1,600 crore this year to tackle air pollution in the Delhi-NCR and stubble burning, she said. “The burning question in the issue of burning of stubble is what has the Punjab government done to deal with the problem? And more importantly what has the chief of the always alleging party (AAP) and the government of Delhi done to control the environment pollution troubling all of Delhi during coronavirus times,” Sharma asked. The central government has also constructed eastern and western peripheral expressway, closed Badarpur and Panipat thermal power plants, switched from BS4 to BS6 fuel, backed innovation of Pusa decomposer for crop residue and subsidised electric vehicles to deal with the issue.
The Delhi government has done little except making empty allegations and claims, she said. “When Delhi government allocates a meagre Rs 52 crore in its a 65,000 crore budget for environment, spends nil from the Rs 787 crore from the environment cess it received in 2017, has only three hired road vacuum cleaning machines, but spends upwards of Rs 73 crore on advertisements and self promotion within the months of July and August only, it is clear where CM Arvind Kejriwal’s priorities lie,” she said. Claiming that the maximum incidents of stubble burning in 2019 came from Sangrur, she said it is the Lok Sabha constituency of AAP MP Bhagwant Mann and five out of its nine assembly seats have AAP MLAs.
“What have they done,” she asked. The AAP government in Delhi has often blamed stubble burning in states like Punjab and Haryana for air pollution in the nation capital during this time of the year.