Pained at toxic Delhi air, Capt writes to PM - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

Pained at toxic Delhi air, Capt writes to PM

Pained at toxic Delhi air, Capt writes to PM

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2

Expressing anguish at the unprecedented situation triggered by the growing air pollution in Delhi, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, underlining the need for evolving a consensus on tackling the issue, rising above political affiliations and regional considerations. In his letter, the Chief Minister said, “No Indian, and definitely no person in Punjab, is oblivious to the misery of our brethren in the National Capital, whatever many around the country might have been led to believe.”

Pointing out that his own children and grandchildren living in Delhi were currently sharing the plight of lakhs of people as a result of the toxic air enveloping the city, he said the prevailing situation “has exposed the hollowness of our claims of being a progressive and developed nation.”

“How can a country be called developed when its capital city has been reduced to a gas chamber, not by any natural disaster but a series of man-made ones?,” he asked.

Making it clear that he had no intent of brushing his hands off Punjab’s responsibility in this tragic state of affairs, the Chief Minister said, however, that the entire country, including Delhi itself as well as the government at the Centre, had allowed “this state of affairs to emerge and sustain, with our various acts of commission and omission.”

Admitting that stubble fires, supported by winds blowing in the wrong direction, were contributing to the toxic levels of air pollution that prevail in Delhi, the CM, at the same time, noted that data from several independent agencies had pointed out that large-scale industrial pollution, traffic overload and excessive construction activity taking place in Delhi were equally, if not more, to blame.

But, said Captain Amarinder, he took no solace from this data, nor could this blame game help any of them to “assuage our own guilt in a matter of such serious national consequence.”

“The harsh truth is that while all of us are busy conveniently passing the buck to one another, Delhi’s people are reeling under excruciating misery, and are facing one of the worse ever health disasters in the nation’s, possibly the world’s, history,” he wrote.

He further wrote that Punjab had tried to enforce the law against stubble burning to the maximum extent possible, and was even penalising the farmers, “even though it goes against my conscience to punish a community that has suffered, and continues to suffer, at the hands of an ungrateful nation.” But that, he added, “does not really deter the farmers from resorting to burning of the paddy straw to keep their pathetic margins from falling further.”

Stressing the need for the Centre’s urgent intervention, the CMconcluded, “After all, what is at stake goes way beyond our petty political ambitions.”

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