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Punjab- The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: With 36,755 farm fires in Punjab this year so far, the Air Quality Index (AQI) level in Punjab is found between satisfactory and moderate while in Delhi it’s very poor.

“So, how is it possible that a state with better AQI could create pollution in another state?” questioned Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board Dr AS Marwaha.

As per the satellite data from Punjab remote sensing centre, this year till Monday, 36,755 farm fires were reported. Last year the count for the same period was 24,726 and in 2018, there were 24,428 fires.

Marwaha said rather than pointing fingers at Punjab for pollution in the national capital, the Delhi government should check its internal sources of pollution. 

He said cities like Panipat, Sonepat, Jind and Karnal in Haryana have poor AQI levels as compared to Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Khanna, Mandi Gobindgarh and Patiala in Punjab.

He discounted the possibility of stubble fire in Punjab contributing to the deteriorating air quality of NCR, especially Delhi. 

He said it is due to the internal polluting sources of NCR and climatic conditions that develop during October till March every year which cause bad air in Delhi.

He said had the stubble fires been the key source of the deteriorating air quality, it would have been reflected in the AQI for Punjab. But, he said, the state’s AQI is generally in the moderate range (100-200) whereas, the national capital’s AQI goes beyond the very poor category.

The air quality index starts increasing significantly after Karnal and Panipat region, which are near Delhi and a part of the NCR, said Marwaha. 

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