New Delhi: The second winter session of the Parliament, where the issue of pollution was taken up by the lower house, saw Bharatiya Janata Party MPs from Delhi cornering the Aam Aadmi Party over its alleged inability to tackle the menace of air pollution. AAP and BJP have been engaged in a war of words for the past few weeks over the issue of air pollution in the capital, which is expected to go to polls early next year.
Among the BJP MPs who attended Tuesday's session, Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwari cornered Arvind Kejriwal over the odd-even scheme and his government’s alleged inability to tackle the pollution emanating from landfill sites.
"What has the Delhi government done to tackle pollution? They distributed 50 lakh masks in the capital, which the doctors at AIIMS said were not helpful in tackling PM 2.5 level pollutants?” Verma, the MP from West Delhi, said.
Verma also slammed the AAP government for ignoring major sources of pollution, including vehicles and dust.
“Why has the Delhi government not laid down roads, which would have curbed pollution emanating from dust?” he said.
Cricketer-turned-MP of East Delhi, Gautam Gambhir, who recently hit the headlines for missing a crucial meeting on Delhi pollution for a cricket match commentary stint in Indore, also took the opportunity of criticising the Delhi government.
"The biggest source of pollution in my constituency is the Ghazipur landfill. If you stand within 200 meters of the site, you would know what hell feels like. I have been working on tackling pollution in my constituency and ordered machines worth Rs 90 crore to ensure fresh air through sprinklers and air purifiers.
Referring to the Odd-Even scheme, Gambhir said, “What has been done were short term solutions. What is required instead are long term solutions, so that the ongoing spell of bad air does not take a toll on the future of our children."
Delhi BJP leader Manoj Tiwari pushed for a reform that would penalise states that were not doing enough to tackle air pollution, he said, indirectly referring to the Delhi government.
"Pollution is a state subject. Can the states that are not working enough on the issue of air pollution not be penalised? Delhi government has stopped the flow of funds to the municipal councils that would have allowed our municipalities to work towards removing garbage from landfill sites. Instead, we have to ask for funds from the central government to tackle air pollution," Tiwari said.
Meanwhile, AAP slammed the three BJP MPs from Delhi, Harsh Vardhan, Hans Raj Hans and Ramesh Bidhuri, who did not attend the discussion on air pollution in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
"BJP Delhi MPs were missing from the parliament during the important debate on pollution. But when it will be time to hold a meeting for spreading lies about water, all MPs will be present," the party said in a Tweet.
Members of the BJP, Congress and Biju Janata Dal also asserted that small farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh should not be vilified for stubble burning as it is not a major cause of pollution in Delhi NCR region.