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Published On: Wed, Nov 15th, 2017

As Delhi battles pollution, Kejriwal govt sat on Rs 786 cr environment fund

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delhi_smog_big759NEW DELHI : In a shocking disclosure, a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has spent only a fraction of it on fighting pollution, a Right to Information or RTI query has revealed.From 2015 till now, 93 lakhs has been spent by the Delhi government from the environment cess, which is 0.11 per cent.

The revelation comes at a time when Delhi is battling smog and pollution. On one hand, Kejriwal is blaming other state governments for not cooperating with his administration to ensure that Delhiites breathe fresh air, while on the other hand, an RTI query reveals that the Aam Aadmi Party government is sitting on environment fund.
The RTI application says that Rs 93 lakh was paid to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) for payment towards pretendering incidental cost related to preparation of RFID documents. The environmental compensation charge is collected by the SDMC and remitted to the transport department. The amount can be utilised for environment preservation and building up public transport system. Notably, road dust is said to be one of the major causes of air pollution in Delhi.

In order to save the government’s face, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has begun the process to purchase electric buses from the Rs 786 crore collected as green tax. Electric buses will help in strengthening non-polluting modes of public transport on Delhi roads.

Delhi has been battling deadly smog that has settled on it for over a week, leaving residents choking and turning to air purifiers and masks. The thick cloud of toxic smog, 10 times the recommended limit, has been blamed on dust from construction, vehicle exhaust and illegal crop burning in neighbouring states.
Mr Kejriwal has held farm fires in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana for a large share of the pollution.

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