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Addressing Delhi pollution to be priority of I.N.D.I.A. bloc govt, says Jairam Ramesh

The party blamed the Centre for allegedly failing to address the city's environment issues, saying it is mostly the Union government that can ensure control on pollution.
Last Updated : 17 May 2024, 16:55 IST
Last Updated : 17 May 2024, 16:55 IST

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New Delhi: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday said the priority of an INDIA bloc government at the Centre will be to address five environment issues, including pollution in the air and the Yamuna river, in the national capital.

Addressing a press conference at the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee office, Ramesh said, "If you look at the metropolitan cities across the world, Delhi would be among the most polluted."

"The India bloc is going to form the government and it will give priority to five issues related to the environment, including air pollution, afforestation of the Aravallis, reviving the Yamuna Action Plan," he said.

In a statement, the party blamed the Centre for allegedly failing to address the city's environment issues, saying it is mostly the Union government that can ensure control on pollution since the issues are related to multiple states.

Ramesh identified five main causes for Delhi's pollution.

Air pollution in Delhi is majorally caused by 11 thermal power plants. Despite strict guidelines to follow pollution control norms, these are being violated. The INDIA bloc government's top priority will be to ensure all the guidelines set by the National Green Tribunal are followed and enforced, he said.

The second problem is of chemical pollution, Ramesh said and added the third is of widespread deforestation, illegal mining and illegal construction in the Aravallis.

The fourth cause is the existence of about 350 brick kilns around Delhi, mostly in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The last problem is pollution of the Yamuna, he said.

It is the primary responsibility of the Centre to take effective steps to control pollution as the environmental problems of Delhi cannot be dealt with by the city government alone. All the issues related to pollution in Delhi are interstate as these also involve Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Ramesh added.

The Congress general secretary alleged that no adequate measures were taken during the past 10 years. Rather, he said, some projects, such as the Yamuna Action Plan -- started in 2013 by the Manmohan Singh government with the help of the Japanese government -- were scrapped.

He also assured that the INDIA bloc government will control pollution through a time-bound action plan.

Noting that a clean environment is important for public health, Ramesh said the Congress guarantees to enforce all the guidelines strictly, providing a clean environment to the public.

He also alleged the effect of the efforts of the past 10 years to control air pollution is not visible.

During the press conference, Ramesh was asked about AAP Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal's allegation of assault at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence but refused to comment on it, saying that the meet was meant to discuss environmental issues.

Under a seat-share arrangement in Delhi, INDIA bloc constituents the Congress has fielded candidates from three seats while AAP is contesting from four.

Polling for the national capital's seven seats will be held in the sixth phase on May 25.

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Published 17 May 2024, 16:55 IST

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