Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar was responding to questions over rising air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on November 4 lashed out at the AAP government asking whether it was following the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) directives aimed at combating the severe air pollution in the national capital.

Responding to questions over rising air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region, Mr. Javadekar said his Ministry has already held several meetings with the neighbouring States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan over stubble burning.

Delhi-NCR has been engulfed in a thick blanket of smog since the festival of Deepavali on October 27.

“Pollution is genuine problem. When I became the Environment Minister, I called a meeting of all five States regarding the issue. Seven to eight such meetings have already been held. Another one will happen soon,” the Minister said.

“The Delhi government must check out the directions given by CPCB regarding pollution and should tell how much has it followed,” Mr. Javadekar added.

A slew of recommendations have been given by a 10-member anti-pollution task force led by CPCB Member Secretary Prashant Gargava to tackle air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region.

Hitting back at the AAP government over Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s recent comment that 40,000 machines provided by the Centre to curb stubble burning cannot help 22 lakh farmers, Mr. Javadekar said the Narendra Modi government has given ₹1,100 crores for the same but the Delhi government was busy spending on advertisements.

“Delhi government is asking why have we given 40,000 machines to a population of 22 lakh farmers, I want to say that we have given ₹1,100 crores. Instead of spending ₹1,500 crore on advertisements, the Delhi government should give this amount to farmers to address the issue of pollution,” he told reporters after attending an event in New Delhi.

Pollution levels in Delhi peaked to a three-year high on November 3 as hundreds of distraught people took to social media to say they wanted to leave the city due to poor air quality.

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