In recent days Delhi and its surrounding areas have been engulfed in a think layer of smog. The situation is so bad in Delhi that, at about 2 PM on Wednesday, its air quality was measured to be 833 on the air quality index. As per WHO, anything below 50 is considered normal and levels above 300 are considered hazardous.
The deadly air quality has meant that the administration has taken contingency measures like closing schools till Sunday, halting construction activities and banning the entry of trucks into the city. Other measures include quadrupling parking fees and temporarily slashing metro fares during off-peak hours.
All these measures might be moot as one of the main culprits for Delhi’s pollution woes is considered to be stubble burning by farmers in the areas near Delhi-NCR. This compounded with low wind speed and dip in temperature has resulted in this smog as per Anumita Roy Chowdhury, the Executive Director of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). She also explained that westerly winds brought in this smoke and the easterly winds reduced the temperature and trapped fumes.
While Delhi continues to be plagued by pollution woes, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh were seen active on Twitter, creating a drama and passing the buck when it comes to this issue.
As a possible response to Delhi’s pollution woes, Kejriwal on Wednesday decided to swing into “twitter governance” mode by claiming that he was continuously trying to arrange a meeting with Haryana and Punjab CMs.
To this Amarinder Singh decided to pass the buck on to the centre and asked Kejriwal to share his concern over stubble burning and pollution. He then shockingly claimed that Punjab was helpless in this matter as the state has no money to compensate the farmers for stubble burning.
Such an assertion of Punjab government not having any money, was certainly rich coming from Amarinder Singh as his government had recently decided to take a long term loan of Rs 10,000 crores in order to write off debt of farmers. So this raises the question as to why his government can’t do anything similar when it comes to the stubble burning issue.
But Kejriwal, rather than taking Amarinder Singh to task, decided to play on by agreeing to Amarinder Singh’s assertion that its the centre which needs to take the lead in this matter. He kept urging Amarinder to grant him a meeting and even asked him to give an estimate of the funds required so that they both could “urge” the centre.
Amarinder is yet to get back to Kejriwal on twitter.
While Kejriwal has been trying to attain the moral high ground, his own party leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira who is the leader of opposition in Punjab was recently seen burning paddy-stubble in the state and threatening to continue doing so if farmers’ demands weren’t met.
All this was a bit too much drama for people to take in and they reacted aplenty:
With the never ending pollution woes of the region, one hopes that rather than creating a drama on twitter, these leaders go back to the drawing board in order to formulate an effective long term strategy in dealing with this issue. This and not “Twitter appeals” would be in the interest of the people.