Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday waded into the ongoing political blame game between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over the declining air quality in the national capital. Speaking to ANI in the state capital Patna today, Kumar said that the blame for the prevailing foul and toxic air pervading Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) should be put on its surrounding states.
“The neighbouring states have to shoulder the blame for the prevailing situation in Delhi with regard to air quality. There is no doubt about it,” the Bihar CM said.
The Janata Dal (United) chief further said he had been working to convince the people of Bihar to shun or give up ‘parali’ (stubble) burning since 2018. “I have tried to convince the people of my state not to burn stubble (farm residue),” Kumar told ANI. Meanwhile, the air quality in the national capital continued to remain in the ‘severe’ category for the third straight day, on Saturday. However, a slight improvement was noted in Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index (AQI), which stood at 431 on Saturday morning from 472 the previous day.
However, areas in the National Capital Region (NCR) — Noida and Gurugram — recorded highly ‘toxic’ air quality levels of 529 and 478 respectively at 7 am on Saturday. While Delhi’s overall AQI showed a margin improvement from Friday, the AQI count in west Delhi’s Dhirpur stood at a hazardous 534.
An air quality index of 0-100 is considered as ‘good’, 100-200 ‘moderate’, 200-300 ‘poor’, 300-400 ‘very poor’ and 400-500 as ‘very severe’. While the BJP has laid the blame for the worsening air quality in the national capital on the AAP, claiming that the foul air was largely because of the rising stubble-burning incidents in neighbouring Punjab where the latter is currently in power.
However, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party countered the BJP’s charge claiming only Punjab was being singled out when other states, including BJP-ruled Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, were also to blame for the situation.