- Only 4 MPs of 29 attended parliamentary panel meet on Delhi pollution
- Committee has taken strong objection to their absence
- Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said he will take action
A high-level parliamentary panel meeting to discuss the severe air pollution in Delhi was skipped by several MPs and top officials on Friday. Only four MPs, out of the 29 on the list, and a few other officials turned up for the meeting.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that he will investigate and take the necessary action.
The parliamentary committee that called the meeting has taken strong objection to their absence and will take up the matter with the Lok Sabha speaker, sources in the panel told NDTV.
Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir, the only MP from Delhi whose name was on the list, was among those who missed the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development. Key officials who skipped the meeting are the Environment Secretary, Forest Secretary, the Secretary dealing with climate change, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) representative and the three chiefs of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
Mr Gambhir is currently in Indore as a commentator for the India vs Bangladesh cricket match.
Actor-politician Hema Malini, the BJP MP from Mathura, too gave the meeting a miss.
"You have told me about this. I will find out the details and investigate. We are always very serious about pollution. I have emphasised that pollution is not only Delhi's problem. I have ordered joint action plan. Teams are working with coordination," Mr Javadekar told reporters.
The Aam Aadmi Party criticised Mr Gambhir for skipping the meet.
Instead of sitting in commentary box and enjoying...— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) November 15, 2019
We challenge @GautamGambhir to stop playing blame games over pollution and ATTEND MEETINGS ON AIR POLLUTION which he skipped
Contempt of Court! Strict action should be taken against all absentees!#ShameOnGautamGambhirhttps://t.co/KrA6NtoOQHpic.twitter.com/dXOycuaYSP
The four MPs who attended the meeting were the BJP's Jagdambika Pal who heads the panel, Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party, Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference and CR Patil of the BJP.
The meeting was scheduled for 11 am on Friday after the air quality in Delhi and nearby areas plunged to ''severe'' category.
The Environment Ministry in a statement said some of its officials were present, while one was busy with a crucial hearing in Supreme Court, news agency Press Trust of India reported. The ministry said it was represented by the deputy secretary and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) officials at the meeting.
Pollution levels in the capital rose in the last four days, forcing authorities to shut schools for two days.
At the meeting, the members were planning to raise various questions including whether the centre has a utilisation report of the money disbursed to states to combat air pollution and on the government's plan to fix accountability on officials for losses due to air pollution.