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Tiff between Centre and Delhi govt continues as region battles with worst air quality

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Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday said the Union Environment Minister should clarify Centre’s stand on stubble burning pollution as Centre’s submission of two contrasting facts in the court has created chaos.

Tiff between Centre and Delhi govt continues as region battles with worst air quality
As NCR grapples with the worst air quality and pollution harming the well-being of the region, the Kejriwal Government is putting its best foot forward to reduce pollution in Delhi.
Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday said the Union Environment Minister should clarify Centre’s stand on stubble burning pollution as Centre’s submission of two contrasting facts in the court has created chaos.
He expressed his shock at the fact that the Centre has said that the contribution of stubble in pollution is 4 percent on one page and 35 to 40 percent on another in its submission.
Rai shared that it is essential for the Centre to clarify as different strategies are needed to deal with both the situations and data must be taken seriously.
“Union Environment Minister should clarify the situation so that the right strategy can be made regarding pollution and we can together find an immediate and a permanent solution to it. Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan & Delhi presented their stands in the joint meeting of the Commission For Air Quality Management today on the directions of the Supreme Court,” Delhi government in a press statement said, quoting Rai.
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Rai further hoped that this meeting will lead to a joint action plan to reduce pollution which can be implemented by all the states.
Meanwhile, he also shared that the Delhi government is taking concrete measures to curb pollution in Delhi, including the major one by completely stopping the construction activities in the state for the time being and that his department would now go for the second phase of the Red Light On, Gaadi Off campaign, which will run from November 19 to December 3.
“The Kejriwal government is taking concrete measures to tackle the increased pollution in Delhi-NCR. As instructed by Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal, all construction and demolition work has been put on a hold for three days. Schools, colleges, and training institutions were also closed and work from home for government offices has been implemented within Delhi. All three decisions were implemented within Delhi yesterday. We had also sent DPCC teams to give instructions and inspect whether norms were being followed at construction sites or not. The reports that we have received show that construction has been stopped at all places. Even today, our teams are out doing inspections.” Rai added.
Rai also hopes that the joint action plan comes out of the inter-state meeting held on Tuesday could be a game changer.
Rai continued, “Yesterday, the Supreme Court had instructed the Commission For Air Quality Management to hold a joint meeting regarding the pollution levels in Delhi. In that regard, the officers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi held a meeting today. In this meeting, on behalf of the people of Delhi, we proposed that work-from-home be implemented, all construction work and industries in the Delhi-NCR region be shut for the meantime. The other states presented their proposals too, we're awaiting the minutes of the meeting at the moment. We will proceed further after receiving the Commission's decision. We hope that this meeting will result in a joint action plan for reducing pollution levels.”
Sharing his view on stubble burning data submitted by the Centre, he urged Centre not to give unauthentic data and calls for an urgent clarity from Centre to end the chaos.
Rai said, “There was a debate among experts, media and people throughout the day about the contribution of stubble in the level of pollution inside Delhi. I would like to request the Union Environment Minister to clarify the situation. In a single affidavit itself, the Central Government has submitted in the Supreme Court, two contrasting statements. One says that stubble burning contributes to four percent of the pollution in Delhi-NCR while in the same affidavit, the other statement indicates that a meeting was held a day earlier, in which it was told that the contribution of stubble-burning in Delhi's pollution is 35 to 40 percent. The same affidavit filed by the Central Government in the Supreme Court is saying two different things: that the contribution of stubble burning is 4 percent but also that it’s 40 percent. Both of these statements cannot be true. Either 4 is the correct statistic or 40 is. Therefore, I request the Union Environment Minister that the facts and statements in that report need to be clarified publicly. Because if we were to strategize considering the contribution of stubble burning to be 4 percent, the result would be different from what they would’ve been, had we considered the contribution to be 40 percent. Therefore, a clarification on this is necessary before the Supreme Court and the people, so that we can prepare the right strategy.”
Further, Rai said, "I looked into this and found that SAFAR, a Central Government organization, was responsible for publishing the data and estimate from November 4 to November 14. Diwali was on 4th November and SAFAR's assessment says that on November 4, the contribution of stubble was 25 percent. 36 percent on November 5, 41 percent on November 6, 48 percent on November 7, 30 percent on November 8, 27 percent on November 9 and 10, 26 percent on November 11, 35 on November 12, 31 percent on November 13, and 14. It was 12 percent in November. If we were to consider the average of the data from November 4 to November 14, it is around 31 percent. This data is also from the central government, and the data which has been handed over inside the court is also from the central government. My request to the Union Environment Minister would be that this situation be clarified at the earliest so that we can devise the right strategy regarding pollution, and in the future, we can all come together to find an immediate and permanent solution to it. This clarification is also very important because there has been a lot of confusion regarding this situation since yesterday.”
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