Dikshit blames haze on neighbouring states

Farmers burn paddy husk in UP, Haryana, Punjab

With a thick haze over the city’s skyline indicating a sharp drop in air quality, the city government on Wednesday said it is the result of massive burning of straw by farmers in neighbouring Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and not due to automobile emissions.

Chief minister Sheila Dikshit said her government will soon write to the Union environment ministry to impress upon the two states not to allow their farmers to burn large quantities of paddy stubbles.

Apprehending a further drop in air quality, Dikshit, after a cabinet meeting that discussed the issue, also appealed to people not to burst firecrackers during Diwali next week.

“The haze has not been formed due to vehicular pollution in Delhi. Experts have found out that burning of paddy straw in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana has resulted in the fog, as smoke has found its way to Delhi,” Dikshit said.

The cabinet, expressing concern over the “unprecedented smog cover”, decided to seek intervention of the Central government.

Dikshit said the city government will write to its Haryana and Punjab counterparts to seek immediate intervention. “We will also write to the Union urban development ministry to take up the issue with the two states as they are members of the National Capital Region Planning Board,” Dikshit said.

 The NCR Planning Board, which functions under the administrative control of the Union urban development ministry, was set up to take up projects for strengthening infrastructure in the NCR.

Officials said slow wind speed, low temperature and high humidity are other reasons for the haze cover. “These conditions appear to have led to high dust concentration and higher concentration of oxides of nitrogen as the pollutants are unable to disperse due to inversion phenomenon,” said an official.

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