Jaitley vows special scheme to curb city's air pollution
Taking cognizance on air pollution in Delhi- National Capital Region (NCR), Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced a scheme in his Budget Speech for 2018-19 to support the Delhi Government and neighbouring States in tackling high levels of air pollution.
“Air pollution in the Delhi and NCR region has been a cause of concern. A special scheme will be implemented to support the efforts of the Government of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to address air pollution and subsidise machinery required for in-situ management of the crop residue,” Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget.
Although, no funds has been earmarked in the General Budget but it is expected to be announced after the consultation with the States.
Meanwhile, environment experts welcomed the Centre's move. However, they also expressed concern on air pollution problems across the country. They said air pollution is not limited up to Delhi but a pan-India issue and called for national measure.
According to the environmentalists, the Central Government's focused scheme to address the issue in Delhi-NCR region is significant, moreover, the as per the official data, the Indo-Gangetic belt suffers from high air pollution and some areas are even more polluted than Delhi-NCR.
Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for science and Environment, said discussion of the pollution matter in budget is a good move. “Air pollution is a national crisis and requires support for wider mix of solutions in all critically polluted areas,” Naraian added.
Stubble burning by farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh has been one of the main reasons for turning the city into “gas chamber” especially during winters. National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked Governments to incentivise farmers to curb burning paddy husk. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh too pitched for the Central assistance for the farmers to buy necessary equipment for the management of the crop residue.
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