New Delhi, Nov 16 (PTI) Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena came down heavily on the AAP governments in Punjab and Delhi on Thursday, alleging that the former is playing "truant" on the issue of stubble burning and the latter involved in "over-hyped events" like the odd-even road-rationing scheme, while the national capital is gasping for breath due to alarming levels of air pollution.
Setting the stage for a fresh confrontation between the LG's office and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation in Delhi, Saxena asserted that blaming others for the pollution problem will not help and the solution lies within the city itself.
As the air quality of Delhi fluctuated between the "very poor" and "severe" categories on Thursday because unfavourable meteorological conditions hindered the dispersion of pollutants, the LG highlighted that the problem can be mitigated by reducing the "dust that our unrepaired roads, unpaved pavements and construction sites cause" and curbing vehicular emissions.
He said Delhi can do little to stop crop-residue smoke from other states and added that "blaming others should not be an alibi for gross inaction over the years".
Saxena also accused the Punjab government of "playing truant".
"We can do little to stop crop residue smoke from other states, apart from pleading with them. Despite states, especially Punjab, playing truant, we are, but petitioners for mercy. AQI yet hovers around 400, making the capital gasp," he said in a post on X.
Stressing that firecrackers add to the menace, the LG said the most affected in this "gas chamber" are those who commute on roads to earn their daily bread.
"The poor and the hapless living in slums and unauthorised colonies whose lungs are frying because they can't afford to sit at home and buy air purifiers.
"The real solution to pollution in Delhi lies in Delhi itself. We can mitigate the choking smog by reducing the dust that our unrepaired roads, unpaved pavements and construction sites cause. We can employ effective means to curb our vehicular emissions," he added.
"Since the deadly smog in 2016, this has become a recurrent issue subjected to nothing but platitude and rhetoric.
"Publicity around props like smog towers mean little and politics of propaganda that involve over hyped events like "Red Light On, Gaadi Off" and "Odd- Even" cannot hold the life of people of Delhi to ransom," Saxena said.
Nothing concrete after the "implementation of CNG" (vehicles) in Delhi and the construction of a maze of flyovers since has been attempted, he claimed.
"Delhi needs action, not mere posturing. We can achieve sustainable goals within a fixed timeline. Let's do it. Politics can wait," the LG said.
There was no immediate reaction from the city government to the charges levelled by Saxena.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai will hold a meeting with the departments concerned on Thursday on an effective implementation of the measures outlined in the Centre's air pollution control plan, officials said.
Rai had previously reprimanded the departments for their negligence in executing the air pollution control plan and urged them to establish a monitoring mechanism for overseeing the teams responsible for enforcing anti-air pollution measures. PTI SLB RC