New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday (November 5) appealed to people not to burst firecrackers citing the rising pollution level in the national Capital.

Addressing an online media briefing, Delhi CM said, “we will celebrate Diwali together and won’t burst firecrackers in any condition. There will be a wonderful atmosphere and good vibes as two crore people will perform Laxmi Pujan. It will lead to well being in each household.” 

Kejriwal asked Delhiites to join him and his ministers instead in a ‘Laxmi Pujan’ programme to be organised by the AAP government this Diwali at 7.39 pm on November 14.

The Chief Minister made this appeal as Delhi has been facing two issues — the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising air pollution. He further said that the AAP government is making all efforts to deal with the situation, adding “The COVID-19 situation is deteriorating in Delhi due to rising air pollution.” 

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“If we burst firecrackers on this Diwali, we are playing with the lives of our children and families…” he said. 

The Delhi government had last year hosted a laser show at Connaught Place on the occasion of Diwali and the festival was celebrated together by people.

A layer of haze lingered over the national capital and its suburbs on Thursday morning, with raging farm fires and a fall in the wind speed and temperatures pushing air quality to the worst levels in around a year.

Kejriwal also said that the smoke produced by crop stubble burning was worsening the COVID-19 situation in Delhi, adding “This happens every year due to parali (paddy stubble) burning and its unfortunate that truly concerned states have not taken any ‘concrete’ step to check this problem.”

He said the farmers in the neighbouring states have told him that they do not want to burn Parali because it kills soil bacteria and reduced fertility, but they have no option as their governments did nothing to help them.

Notably, the Delhi government has arranged free of cost spray of a bio decomposer developed by Pusa Institute in the fields with consent of farmers to avoid burning paddy stubble. 

On Wednesday, Delhi witnessed another record single-day jump in COVID-19 cases with over 6,800 confirmed infections as Kejriwal had said the city was witnessing the “third wave” of the virus amid rising pollution levels and festive season.

The national capital has been witnessing a fresh surge in coronavirus cases over the last few days.

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