Netas not bothered as Delhi gasps for air

Updated: Nov 16, 2019, 12:36 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

MP Gautam Gambhir, top officials skip key Parliamentary panel meeting on pollution in Delhi-NCR; Supreme Court says odd-even scheme not solution

Tourists wearing anti-pollution masks walk along a road amid heavy smog, at Rajpath in New Delhi. PIC/PTI
Tourists wearing anti-pollution masks walk along a road amid heavy smog, at Rajpath in New Delhi. PIC/PTI

New Delhi: Only four MPs of a 28-member parliamentary panel attended a key meeting to discuss the air pollution crisis in Delhi-NCR on Friday, with the absentees including East Delhi parliamentarian Gautam Gambhir. Top officials of the environment ministry, DDA and municipal commissioners also stayed away from the deliberations.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development had called the meeting with top officials of various government departments to discuss the air pollution in Delhi and the measures required to reduce it.

A Gambhir issue

As many as 24 MPs from various parties did not attend the meeting, but the absence of Gambhir, the lone BJP leader from Delhi in the committee, snowballed into a political row as the AAP hit out at the saffron party over the issue and questioned its seriousness in tackling the crisis. Asked about the absence of his ministry officials, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said he would find details and investigate.

An official spokesperson said the environment ministry was represented by the deputy secretary and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) officials, adding that the joint secretary could not attend as she was to appear in an important matter in the SC. The Supreme Court on Friday called the odd-even rationing scheme “half-baked” and said that it might not be a solution to control the deteriorating air quality in the national capital. The court pulled up the AAP-led Delhi government and asked it to apprise it about the effect of the scheme on air pollution levels.

AQI in Delhi

The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital on Friday was recorded at 482 which falls under the ‘Severe’ category with PM10 being 504 and PM2.5 - 332, according to Center-run SAFAR. The AQI near Mathura Road was 554 (PM10), near Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, it was 560 (PM10), and Chandni Chowk recorded 484 (PM10) and 488 (PM2.5).

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