DW BUREAU / Chandigarh
Sharing the concern of his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal over the dangerously rising pollution levels in the northern states, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said the situation warranted urgent intervention by the central government, which should immediately sanction compensation for farmers to check stubble burning.
Responding to Kejriwal’s request for a meeting to discuss the issue, Capt Amarinder said any discussion of the chief ministers would serve no meaningful purpose, with the Centre alone equipped to address this grave issue, which had inter-state implications.
Since, multiple states were involved, any meeting without the central government’s intervention would be inconsequential, he added.
Given the gravity of the situation, it was for the central government to rise to the occasion and come to the rescue of the farmers with financial aid to compensate for stubble management, Capt Singh said.
Like Delhi, Punjab was also suffering as a result of the unbearable effects of smog and pollution, forcing closure of schools and other institutions in many districts and change in timings in others, said Capt Singh, reacting to Kejriwal’s distress over the deteriorating air conditions.
The situation in Punjab was so serious that a spate of accidents over the past few days due to smog had led to several people getting killed and many injured, he pointed out, expressing apprehension of further worsening of the situation in the absence of immediate central intervention.
The delay on the part of the Centre to address the problem was costing the northern states heavy, lamented Capt Singh, adding that in view of the national importance of the issue, the Narendra Modi government should come out with immediate help to the states to resolve the crisis.