Pollution watchdog gave clean chit to neighbouring states, says AAP

New Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday accused the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of giving a “clean chit” to neighbouring states and blaming Delhi residents for air pollution.

Urging CPCB to release comprehensive data on the sources of air pollution, the party alleged that the regulator was “behaving like a spokesperson of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)”.

AAP’s reaction came hours after CPCB in a press conference issued a slew of recommendations to improve the city’s air quality. The pollution watchdog recommended allowing employees to work from home and urged people to use public transport. It suggested the Delhi government and private companies should promote car pooling in the coming months.

This, however, did not go down well with AAP, the ruling party in Delhi. Raghav Chadha, the party’s national spokesperson, questioned why CPCB issued so many harsh measures for the people of Delhi alone and let off other neighbouring states.

“There has been no drastic expansion or influx of industries and vehicular traffic over the last 15 days in the city which would increase pollution by leaps and bounds. The internal sources of pollution between September and October have not changed. Only the external source of stubble burning from neighbouring states has caused this sudden spike in air pollution,” he said.

CPCB refused to comment on the matter, saying it did not want to engage in politics.

Chadha said the Centre should instead focus on providing alternatives to farmers so that they refrain from burning stubble. “Instead, they are blaming the people of Delhi for the increase in the pollution. The agencies are handcuffed by the Centre’s myopic refusal to recognise that stubble burning is one of the most devastating culprits of air pollution,” he said.

AAP’s Delhi unit convener Gopal Rai requested CPCB to present an analysis report, which will include the share of pollution from dust, motor vehicle, industries, burning, stubble burning and others. “Why the agencies are interested in protecting the neighbouring states and blame Delhi? The Delhi government is working towards making the city’s air clean which is why we are coming up with various steps such as odd-even. The last time when we brought odd-even, all the agencies acted against us. I request them today that it is not the time to play the blame game but to fight pollution collectively,” he said.

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