NCR states — Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan — on Thursday skipped an important meeting called by
Centre to review ongoing pollution abatement measures and discuss future course of action ahead of
Except Delhi government, represented by environment minister Imran Hussain, the four NCR states preferred to send their senior officials to attend the meeting chaired by Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan.
Though the Union minister sought to play down the absence of ministers, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal questioned it in his tweet. “Why didn’t ministers from other states attend? It’s a collective problem and I urge everyone to please work together. Only then can we find a solution,” tweeted Kejriwal.
Asked about the absence of ministers from NCR states, Vardhan said the issue of air pollution should not be “politicised” and everyone should extend their full cooperation to protect the environment.
The Union minister along with Hussain later flagged off special teams to monitor violations and take action against polluters as part of the special ‘clean air campaign’ in five cities which will go on till November 10.
The 52 teams, supported by local police, will also initiate criminal proceedings against defaulters in case of repeat violations. Delhi will have 44 teams on the ground while Gurugram , Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad will have two teams each during the period. The teams, led by local SDM and comprising senior officials from Union environment ministry, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), MCD, DPCC and pollution control boards of concerned NCR states, will ensure compliance.
Routine monitoring by the CPCB teams will, however, continue beyond November 10 when the officials take round of the cities and monitor ground activities five days a week.
The minister, on the occasion, also launched a pilot project of ‘Pariyayantra’ (air filters mounted on roof tops of buses), which is developed by a group of scientists from Manav Rachna Educational Institutions under a CPCB funded programme. The pilot project has deployed 30 buses mounted with these devices which can trap pollutants when these buses move.
Referring to action taken by neighbouring states, the Union minister said though the incidents of
stubble burning has seen a reduction of 30% from previous year, the overall steps taken by the state governments are far from satisfactory.