Why should we pay other states to stop stubble burning, AAP asks Javadekar

Pollution. Photo: Reuters

The AAP on Monday said it's Punjab and Haryana's responsibility to help their farmers in acquiring technology to avoid burning stubble, hours after Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar jibed the Delhi government that it was more interested in promoting itself than improving the air quality.

Javadekar had said the Delhi government should give Rs 1,500 crore, which he added the AAP government spent on advertisements, to farmers in a bid to address the issue of air pollution.

The environment minister's remark was against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's recent comment that 40,000 machines provided by the Centre to curb stubble burning cannot help 22 lakh farmers.

On Monday, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said it is the responsibility of the respective state governments to help their farmers and provide technology to discourage them from burning crop residue.

"I challenge the environment minister to prove that we have taken a single penny out of Delhi's budget, for advertisement," he said.

"Why should we pay? According to NGT and Supreme Court guidelines, it is the responsibility of the state governments of Punjab and Haryana to help their farmers and provide technology by which they can stop burning stubble," he said.

The Delhi government had been taking out advertisements, claiming 25 per cent reduction in air pollution in Delhi, before the toxic haze surrounded the national capital a few days ago, because of its efforts. And it has blamed stubble burning in neighbouring states for the air pollution.

Singh also hit out at Javadekar, claiming in the last one month, the environment minister cancelled three meetings with state governments to find solutions for air pollution in the national capital region.

"How uninterested the BJP government is with the issue of pollution. I want to ask and request the Central government to go above partisan politics and work for the betterment of India by taking steps to combat air pollution," he said.

Delhi has been witnessing one of the worst episodes of air pollution for the past few days.

Monday afternoon, Delhi's air quality index was 438. The AQI at Alipur, Narela and Bawana were 493, 486 and 472 respectively.

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