05 Nov 2019
Delhi Air Emergency: PMO holds second meeting to discuss measures
The situation in Delhi/NCR has invited criticism for governments, and rightly so. As residents are gasping for fresh air, they want authorities to take swift action.
Amid the crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Principal Secretary PK Mishra held a review meeting for the second consecutive day to discuss the pollution-curbing measures.
Top officials of Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi also attended the meeting.
Since authorities sat on problem, Delhi became uninhabitable, again!
As is well known, Delhi/NCR is grappling with toxic air. The Air Quality Index (AQI) averaged to 494 on Sunday, the highest since November 2016.
The repeat of the same story this year confirms authorities failed to take preventive measures despite knowing what winter months have in store for Delhi.
No action was taken against stubble burning, the major villain for this crisis.
Earlier, SC pulled up governments for not doing enough
To residents' misfortune, the ones in power sleep through the entire year and act only after a thick blanket of smog engulfs Delhi.
Mishra too sought replies from state governments only after the quality of air deteriorated.
Stubble burning, sprinkling water on hotspots was discussed
Reportedly, the state's representatives apprised Mishra about the steps taken in the last 24 hours to tackle air pollution. These included penalizing farmers for burning crops and sprinkling water at "hotspots".
While giving enough attention to pre-emptive action, Mishra asked Punjab and Haryana to inform about the additional measures taken to keep a check on fresh cases of stubble burning.
At meeting, here's what Punjab and Haryana officials said
According to a statement issued by PMO, Punjab chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh told Mishra he was monitoring the situation personally. Further, he revealed FIRs have been lodged against those violating Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
Separately, his Haryana counterpart Kesni Anand Arora informed that Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has ordered concerned authorities to swiftly take action against stubble burning.
Do you know?
In Delhi, dumping garbage has been banned, said official
On the other hand, Vijay Dev, Delhi's chief secretary, said dumping garbage openly has been stopped and strict fine is being imposed on those erring. He also said the process to sprinkle water has been intensified.
Short-term steps commendable, but stress on future, Mishra apparently said
At the high-profile meeting, also attended by PK Sinha (principal adviser to PM Modi), cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, Environment Secretary, chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board and Director General of India Meteorological Department, Mishra said while these immediate steps are welcoming, a long-term plan should be put at place.
He also stressed on using crop residual management (CRM) machines.