Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today appealed to Delhi residents to avoid bursting firecrackers this Diwali in view of rising air pollution and asked them to join him and his ministers instead in a ''Laxmi Pujan'' programme to be organised by the AAP government on the day of the festival on November 14.
Addressing an online media briefing, Mr Kejriwal said he along with his cabinet ministers will perform ''Lakshmi Puja'' at 7.39 pm at some place and urged Delhiiites to join them from their homes by watching it on television.
"Last year, we celebrated Diwali together as the Delhi government organised a mega light and sound show at Connaught Place. This time also Delhi's two crore people will celebrate together. On Diwali, November 14 from 7:39 pm onwards the 2 crore people of Delhi will do Lakshmi puja together. I, along with my ministers, will start the Lakshmi puja at the time which will be telecasted live by some channels. I urge all people of Delhi to turn on your televisions and sit down with your family to conduct Lakshmi Pujan," Mr Kejriwal, who claimed a third wave of coronavirus is now sweeping the national capital, said while appealing to people to avoid bursting firecrackers this Diwali.
The chief minister said that at present, Delhi has been facing two issues - the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising air pollution - adding that the AAP government is making all efforts to deal with the situation.
"The COVID-19 situation is deteriorating in Delhi due to rising air pollution. If we burst firecrackers on this Diwali, we are playing with the lives of our children and families...," he said.
The share of stubble burning in Delhi's pollution rose to 42 per cent on Thursday, the maximum so far this season, according to a central government air quality monitoring agency.
Experts said raging farm fires and a fall in the wind speed and temperatures pushed air quality in Delhi-NCR to the worst levels in around a year on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the national capital saw yet another record single-day jump in COVID-19 cases with over 6,800 confirmed infections. The city has been witnessing a fresh surge in coronavirus cases over the last few days, with a total of over 6,600 deaths recorded till now.
With inputs from ANI and PTI