Merkel urges Delhi to go green amid smog emergency

Merkel said that Germany would spend one billion euros on "green" urban transport projects in India over the next five years, including 200 million euros to replace diesel buses in Tamil Nadu state. Photo/PTI

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday cited the toxic haze over National Capital Territory of Delhi to stress the need to replace diesel vehicles used for public transport with the ones running on electricity across India.

Merkel, who concluded her visit to New Delhi on Saturday, said that Germany would spend one billion Euro over the next five years on “green” urban transport projects in India, including 200 million euros to replace diesel buses in Tamil Nadu.

“These diesel buses are to be replaced by electric buses and anyone who saw the pollution in Delhi yesterday (Friday) would find very good arguments for replacing even more of these buses," Merkel said at a business meeting in New Delhi.

The National Capital Territory recorded its worst air quality of the season on Friday as the pollution level touched the 'severe plus' category, prompting Delhi government to shut schools till November 5, ban all construction activities and declare a “public heath emergency”.

German Chancellor was the first foreign dignitary to make a comment on poor air quality in Delhi.

Merkel experienced the smog when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ceremonially welcomed her at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday.

Neither she, nor Modi, however, put on masks during the ceremony.

After co-chairing inter-governmental consultation, prime minister and German Chancellor on Friday witnessed signing of Joint Declaration of Intent on Indo-German Partnership for Green Urban Mobility.

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