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Delhi BJP calls for Kejriwal’s resignation over ‘bad’ air; Environment Minister to chair meeting on antibody campaign

BJP leaders on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal over his alleged failure to control pollution in Delhi, claiming the city’s air quality improved after Diwali.

BJP MP and former Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari said the city’s air quality index (AQI) levels were worse before Diwali. The AQI had improved after the festival, showing that Diwali is not responsible for the pollution in Delhi, he said.

“Before Diwali the AQI was 330 and after Diwali this morning (Wednesday) it is 306. (This is) the benefits of bursting green crackers. So those who blamed Diwali should now be concerned that if the pollution gets worse from now on, then Diwali should not be blamed,” Tiwari said in a tweet in Hindi on Wednesday.

Air quality in Delhi improved Wednesday morning due to the favorable wind speed, but remained in the ‘poor’ category. The AQI was at 255 at 10:10 am and improved from 303 at 4 pm on Tuesday. It was recorded at 312 at 4 pm on Monday, the day of Diwali.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 as ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 as ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 as ‘poor’, 301 and 400 as ‘very bad’ and 401 and 500 as ‘seriously’.

In contrast, the BJP’s West Delhi MP Parvesh Sahib Singh demanded Kejriwal’s resignation for failing to control the pollution. “Arvind ji, when your paid news about pollution is over, say something about it too. Why do you tell so many lies every day? If you don’t have a solution to the pollution, then leave the CM’s post,” Singh tweeted in Hindi.

Singh’s tweet was in response to pollution-related photos on social media that claimed Delhi’s AQI had reached the “very bad” category.

Commenting on the same photos, party spokesman Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga said Diwali and crackers are not responsible for the deteriorating air quality in Delhi. “Nobody burned crackers yesterday (Tuesday). Proving once again that Diwali is not responsible for the pollution in Delhi. Kejriwal could not offer a solution in Delhi and only to save his image he blamed Hindus and crackers. Kejriwal Model is fraud, Kejriwal is fraud,” Bagga tweeted.

The air quality in the neighboring cities of Ghaziabad (262), Noida (246), Greater Noida (196), Gurugram (242) and Faridabad (243) fell in the category of ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’.

For the past two years, Delhi and neighboring areas have witnessed severe air quality after Diwali, usually celebrated in November, with intense smog enveloping the region for days as stubble-burning spikes throughout the month, while low temperatures and calm winds trap pollutants.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Gopal Rai will chair a high-level meeting on Wednesday to discuss the progress of the antibody campaign in the capital. Rai is expected to share data on the number of sites that meet guidelines to control dust pollution and violations of government guidelines, an official said.

User bureaus of construction and demolition projects larger than 500 square meters are required to register them on the Construction and Demolition Portal (C&D) launched last October to control dust pollution in the capital.

The project’s proponents must self-check that they meet dust control standards and upload a self-declaration on the portal every two weeks. In September, the Delhi government had also mandated the installation of anti-smog guns at all construction and demolition sites larger than 500 square meters.

Action is taken against proponents of projects that violate this direction. In the past, construction and demolition sites had to install more than 20,000 anti-smog guns to combat dust pollution.

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