As Delhi’s air quality dipped to emergency levels, a political blame game has erupted among the political leaders. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday accused the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of politicising the issue of air pollution in Delhi and indulging in a blame game by holding everybody, including neighbouring states and the Centre, responsible for the abysmal situation.
Speaking at an event in Delhi, Javadekar said the Delhi Chief Minister is doing politics on rising pollution levels and blaming Punjab, Haryana for stubble burning. The Union Minister further said that if the blame game starts, many hidden matters may get unearthed.
Kejriwal and his party Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have been blaming the incidents of stubble burning in neighbouring states for deteriorating air quality in Delhi. Earlier in the day, Kejriwal said that Delhi has turned into a gas chamber due to high crop burning incidents in neighbouring states. His party held protests against stubble-burning on Thursday.
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Kejriwal received the ire of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh over his comments. Describing Kejriwal as a "shameless liar", Singh lashed out at his Delhi counterpart over his "brazen lies on the grave issue of air pollution". He also termed the AAP’s protest an obvious political stunt with an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections in Delhi.
"The air pollution in the capital was directly related to the rampant construction activity, widespread industrialisation and total mismanagement of the city traffic," he said, hitting out at Kejriwal for "trying desperately to divert public attention from his own government’s failures by indulging in such outright lies".
"By blaming others for his own lapses, Kejriwal was showing signs of his poor leadership," he added.
The pollution levels in Delhi and neighbouring areas remained in the ‘severe’ category as the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) dipped to 483 on Friday. Last night, the AQI crossed 500-mark for the first time since January this year.
In response, the Supreme Court-mandated pollution control body EPCA has declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR and banned construction activities till November 5. It also asked implementing agencies to take immediate stringent action to stop stubble-burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.
The Delhi government has decided to shut all schools till November 5 in the wake of rising level of pollution.