The Hush Post, Chandigarh
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has once again ruled out a meeting with his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal to discuss the issue of air pollution resulting from stubble burning, urging him to refrain from trying to politicise such a serious issue. Responding to media reports triggered by Kejriwal’s tweet, once again seeking a meeting with him, Captain Amarinder said he failed to understand why the Delhi chief minister was trying to force his hand, knowing well that any such discussion would be meaningless and futile.
Kejriwal’s tendency to indulge in petty street politics was well-known, said the Punjab Chief Minister, adding that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was evidently trying to divert public attention from his own government’s failure in Delhi to check the problem of pollution, as exposed by the response of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the ill-conceived odd-even scheme. The problems faced by Delhi and Punjab on this count were completely divergent, with no meeting ground, said Captain Amarinder, adding that, unlike Punjab, the Delhi problem was the result mainly of urban pollution caused by mismanaged transportation and unplanned industrial development. Instead of focusing all his attention on resolving these issues, Kejriwal wanted to waste time holding useless discussions, said the Punjab chief minister, adding that he, unfortunately, did not have the same luxury of time.
In any case, the Delhi chief minister had often been accused of leaving the national capital in the midst of a crisis and travelling to other places when his presence has been needed the most back home, Captain Amarinder pointed out, adding that the present instance was a case in point. How else can one explain Kejriwal’s desperation to seek a meeting with him at this juncture, especially when he (Capt Amarinder) had categorically rejected such a suggestion earlier, asked the Punjab chief minister.
Captain Amarinder pointed out that the Supreme Court was also seized of the pollution problem and had already made it clear that it was in favour of a comprehensive long-term solution to it. That is what Punjab was also seeking, said Captain Amarinder, adding that he was hopeful that the apex court would be show the way to resolving the crisis, with the Centre also pitching in, as requested by Punjab. As far as stubble burning was concerned, it was not a political issue that Kejriwal was trying to project it as but was an economic problem crying for economic solutions, which the central government alone was in a position to provide, said the Punjab Chief Minister. Captain Amarinder further said, in a statement, that he would continue to pursue with the Centre the matter of compensatory allowance for farmers to enable them to opt for alternatives to the dangerous practice of stubble burning.