On November 2, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav criticised the Punjab government as the National Capital’s Air Quality Index (AQI) continued to deteriorate. Yadav noted on Twitter that there has been an increase in agricultural fires of over 19% since 2021 in Punjab, a state governed by the Aam Aadmi Party. In comparison, Haryana had a 30% decline over the same time.
‘Punjab saw 3,634 flames just today. Who converted Delhi into a gas chamber is beyond dispute ‘,in a letter, the Union Environment Minister included an infographic showing 18,066 fires in Punjab in 2020, 1,266 fires in 2021, 21,480 fires in Punjab in 2022, and 3,025 fires in Sangrur in 2022.
‘Inquire about Punjab & Delhi, but not Haryana’;
Relevantly, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann charged the Union government with engaging in ‘pollution politics’ earlier in the day while addressing a news conference. CM Mann went on to say that the Centre ignored them and rejected their proposals when the Punjab government offered them a long-term solution to the problem of stubble.
‘The Central government has been engaging in awful pollution politics for a number of days’. Bhagwant Mann said, ‘When Punjab farmers provide crops, they are referred to as Annadata but after receiving the food, the same farmers are blasted. Instead of helping, the BJP government at the Centre is defaming the farmers of Punjab, while the cities of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are on the list of most polluted cities’.
The air quality index (AQI), which has been rated as being ‘extremely bad,’ indicates that the pollution in and around Delhi has reached an alarming level. The AQI in Delhi on November 2 was reported at 354, which the Meteorological Department classifies as extremely bad.