Delhi says we are clean, smog due to neighbours

-The Indian Express

‘Will write to Environment ministry’

A day after the Supreme Court expressed concern over the smog cover over the city saying it will “deal with the matter”, the Delhi government on Wednesday absolved itself of any blame and pointed a finger at the neighbouring states.

The Environment department said it has commissioned a study under IIT-Kanpur to identify the exact role of various pollutants and suggest measures to improve air quality.

In a statement, the government asserted that there was no increase in air pollution level in Delhi in the past few years.

The statement, issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, said: “The pollution in Delhi (is) a result of various factors in the NCR.” It said that the states of UP and Haryana will be pressed to expedite the work on peripheral expressways, so heavy vehicles could be kept off Delhi roads.

“We will also write to the Urban Development ministry to take up the issue with the two states as they are members of the National Capital Region Planning Board,” the statement said.

It also pointed out that farmers in Punjab, UP and Haryana burn straw and husk, which adds to the pollution in Delhi. She said the government will soon write to the Environment ministry to stop the “mass burning” of paddy stubble.

The “unprecedented smog cover” was discussed at the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

The statement noted that the power supply in the city is healthy and, therefore, the use of diesel generator sets has also gone down. It said all polluting industries have been moved out of the city.

The statement said there did not “appear to be any immediate contributing factors from Delhi due to which air quality in Delhi has deteriorated.”

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit also appealed to the residents to refrain from bursting firecrackers during Diwali.

The Indian Express, 8 November, 2012, http://www.indianexpress.com/news/delhi-says-we-are-clean-smog-due-to-neighbours/1028446/0

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