Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh wrote to PM Modi on the Delhi pollution crisisNew Delhi: A day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused his government of “forcing farmers to burn stubble” and thereby cause the pollution crisis in the national capital, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, admitting that while illegal farm fires in his state had exacerbated the problem, “large-scale industrial pollution, traffic overload and excessive construction activity (in Delhi) were equally, if not more, to blame”. The Punjab Chief Minister also urged all political leaders to stop playing blame games and work together for the people of Delhi, saying that nobody could be “oblivious to the misery of our brethren in the national capital”.”No Indian, and definitely no person in Punjab, is oblivious to the misery of our brethren in the national capital, whatever many around the country might have been led to believe. The harsh truth is that while all of us are busy conveniently passing the buck to one another, Delhi’s people are reeling under excruciating misery,” he wrote today.Both Mr Singh and his Haryana counterpart, Manohar Lal Khattar, have been criticised by Mr Kejriwal, for failing to control illegal farm fires in their respective states. The AAP chief, while distributing breathing masks to children on Friday, urged them to “write letters to Captain uncle and Khattar uncle”.The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital crossed 500 late Thursday night, entering “emergency” territory for the first time since January and forcing the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) to declare a public health emergency; Mr Kejriwal has described the city as a “gas chamber”. A marginal increase in wind speeds this morning has helped but the overall AQI is still above 400 and the situation remains “severe”.Data on Wednesday showed nearly 3,000 farm fires were burning in Punjab and Haryana aloneAccording to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the share of farm fires in pollution in Delhi on Friday was a 46 per cent; the corresponding figures for Thursday and Wednesday were 24 per cent and 35 per cent.The Delhi Chief Minister, who told reporters on Wednesday that “…we can’t help crop fires from neighbouring areas”, was subsequently accused by Captain Amarinder Singh of resorting to “political gimmickry”, a charge he hinted at again in his letter.”We have persistently and foolishly refused to rise above political considerations to launch a collective search for a permanent solution,” Mr Singh wrote.He also said Punjab had sought to enforce the law against stubble burning “even though it goes against my conscience to punish a community (the farmers) that has suffered”. “(This) does not deter farmers from burning to keep pathetic margins from falling further,” he added.For its part the centre has provided between 50 and 80 per cent subsidy to farmers to purchase essential technology and machinery to help convert waste agricultural matter like straw into fertiliser instead of burning it. However, farmers say that even with this subsidy it is very expensive.”It our compulsion to burn the stubble in our field (since) the machinery provided by the government is very expensive and we cannot afford it,” Harjit Singh, a farmer in Punjab, told NDTV.”What is that solution that can end this grave problem? Is it not your government’s task, Mr Prime Minister, to, in consultation with all the other stakeholders, including Punjab, Delhi and Haryana?” Captain Amarinder Singh wrote.Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24×7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.
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