Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Monday alleged that crackers burnt in the national Capital on Diwali night were sourced from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, both ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Rai claimed that the police of these states permitted the transportation of firecrackers to Delhi. He also blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments in the states of being behind it.
“There is a ban on production, storage and sale of firecrackers in Delhi. The firecrackers were brought to Delhi from UP and Haryana. The police of Delhi, Haryana and UP are under the control of the BJP and no common man can easily supply the firecrackers amid the monitoring of these three police forces. Some specific people have done this,” Rai was quoted as saying by ANI during a press conference.
The environment minister also announced that the anti-pollution measures under GRAP IV regulations will remain enforced in Delhi until the next order of CAQM (Commission for Air Quality Management).
“Under this, the ban on BS-III petrol vehicles and BS-IV diesel vehicles will remain. All trucks, except those carrying essential goods and connected to essential services and CNG & electric trucks, will not be allowed to enter Delhi,” he announced, according to ANI.
The announcement was made after Rai held a pollution review meeting at Delhi Secretariat.
Earlier today, Rai had said the pollution levels in the city increased on Sunday evening due to firecrackers.
“The pollution level (Air Quality Index or AQI) was under 215 in the last three days but due to firecrackers, the pollution levels have spiked. It has come to light that many people avoided using firecrackers but in some places, firecrackers were burst on a large scale,” the minister said to explain the rise in pollution levels.
Delhi’s 24-hour average AQI on Sunday was recorded at 218 at 4 pm by the Central Pollution Control Board and started to rise after 8 pm. By 10 pm, it was at 230, 240 at midnight, 244 at 2 am, 250 by 4 am, 266 by 6 am, 283 at 8 am and reached 301 by 10 am on Monday. PM 2.5 remained the prominent pollutant, showcasing the impact of combustion sources – in this case, firecrackers.
Last year, Delhi recorded an average AQI of 302 (very poor) on October 25— the day after Diwali, which was the lowest AQI for Delhi post the festival in the last seven years.