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Posted at: Nov 15, 2017, 9:44 AM; last updated: Nov 15, 2017, 10:24 PM (IST)

After war of words, Khattar, Kejriwal resolve to make Delhi ‘smog-free’ in 2018

After war of words, Khattar, Kejriwal resolve to make Delhi ‘smog-free’ in 2018
Haryana CM ML Khattar shakes hands with his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal after a meeting in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15

After a war of words over air pollution, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday resolved to put in place “sustained efforts” to make the national capital “smog-free” in the winter of 2018.

A broad consensus on the issue and plan of action was discussed at a high-level meeting between Khattar and Kejriwal here.

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“We recognised our deep and shared concern over the recent episode of smog in the NCR. We agreed upon the need for action on many measures aimed at preventing its recurrence in the winter of 2018,” a joint statement issued by two chief ministers after the meeting said.

The statement noted that “during discussions we agreed to the serious risk to which such episodes of smog expose one and all require concrete and quick action on a number of fronts”.

“In today’s meeting we covered the issues of crop-residue burning and vehicular pollution. We resolve to put in sustained efforts in pursuance of the jointly identified action points in the coming weeks and months,” the statement asserted, adding that other pollution issues would be taken at subsequent meetings.

In a brief interaction with media, the chief ministers struck a reconciliatory note as against their earlier aggressive stances.

Kejriwal said states might be separated by territorial boundaries, but nobody had control over air and joint efforts need to be put in by all stakeholders to check pollution.

“Therefore, it is very important that the country's top political executive, both of states and the Centre, everyone will have to collectively find a solution to this problem," he said.

"I believe today's meeting is just a beginning. We had a discussion on stubble burning, vehicular pollution, as also on bypasses which are being built, we had a discussion on how we can introduce CNG vehicles.

"They gave us suggestions that there are some stretches, like the Delhi-Gurugram has only one road stretch and if the work on Dwarka bypass can be expedited, likewise Badarpur-Ashram stretch...,” Kejriwal said.

Khattar said there was really a genuine concern about smog, which had engulfed northern states, especially NCR.

“It has been happening for the last two years. This problem is not related to only one state but it is a common concern. We are taking steps in our respective states whether it is stubble burning or vehicular pollution,” he said.

The Haryana CM said Delhi is the capital of India and "we will collectively try to ensure smog does not envelop the city".

Recently, Khattar had virtually snubbed his Delhi counterpart for accusing the Haryana government of not doing enough to help farmers get rid of stubble and being forced to burn it causing smog in Delhi. Kejriwal recently wrote a letter to Khattar, seeking time to discuss the issue.

Though Khattar met Kejriwal today Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amrinder Singh refused to meet Kejriwal saying, “It is not a matter for inter-state discussion and requires Central government’s intervention at the earliest.”

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