Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today addressed a gathering of mayors at an environment event in Denmark via video-conferencing, days after the centre denied him permission to fly to Copenhagen to speak at the event.
"Addressed the Press at the C40 Summit in Copenhagen, with Mayors of Paris, LA, Copenhagen, Barcelona & Portland over video. Delhi also signs C-40 Clean Air Cities Declaration (signed only by 38 cities of the 94 attending) as its commitment to clean its air," Mr Kejriwal tweeted today, referring to the cities that have pledged to fight air pollution in a time-bound manner.
"I wanted to be here personally but could not do so because of unavoidable circumstances," Mr Kejriwal said.
The Chief Minister, who also heads the Aam Aadmi Party, was to be part of an eight-member delegation for the climate summit in the Scandinavian nation. The centre on Wednesday said Mr Kejriwal's attendance wasn't needed as the event was for "mayor-level" participants.
The organisers of the 'C40 World Mayors Summit' had then requested Mr Kejriwal to address the event via video-conferencing. 'C40 Cities' is a group that connects 94 cities across the world to take bold climate action.
Addressed the Press at the C40 Summit in Copenhagen, with Mayors of Paris, LA, Copenhagen, Barcelona & Portland over video— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 11, 2019
Delhi also signs C-40 Clean Air Cities Declaration (signed only by 38 cities of the 94 attending) as its commitment to clean its airhttps://t.co/Nh8KFjS27R
In his speech today, Mr Kejriwal said efforts to mitigate climate change will fail without the support of people. "I am very happy to announce that New Delhi is joining 37 other cities from around the world in signing the C40 Clear Air Cities Declaration. I am able to confidently sign this declaration because of the support of two crore residents of Delhi, who are my strength. No plan to tackle climate change can be successful without the support and participation of the people," Mr Kejriwal said in the speech uploaded on YouTube by the 'C40 Cities' group.
He highlighted the steps taken by the Delhi government in reducing pollution. "I want to share some good news from Delhi. For the past few years, Delhi has been struggling because of poor air quality. But as a consequence of the several steps we took, Delhi's pollution has reduced by 25 per cent over the last three years," Mr Kejriwal said.
"We introduced several restrictions on diesel vehicles, and shut down all coal-based thermal power plants in Delhi. Delhi's industries were also incentivised through subsidies to switch over to cleaner fuels. We also created infrastructure to supply 24 hours uninterrupted power supply in the city, eliminating power cuts. This put half a million highly polluting diesel generators out of use. Large scale afforestation has been carried out over the years. Delhi also has the largest network of Air Quality Monitoring stations in any city in India, which helps us take important decisions," the Chief Minister said.
Mr Kejriwal's party AAP in its criticism of the centre for denying him permission to fly to Denmark had said the decision was "not good" for democracy and the federal structure.
"It was not Arvind Kejriwal's personal visit, he was not going for some fun but to explain to Asia's 100 city mayors, how the pollution of Delhi was reduced by 25 per cent. He was going to explain the benefit of the odd-even scheme. A good image of the country would have been presented there," Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI on Tuesday.