In a veiled jibe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said that the people of the national capital will not be fooled by the claims of those who are taking credit for reduced pollution levels which were possible due to the steps taken by the Centre.
"The Centre is fighting the problem of pollution, that is our only concern. We believe that the people will not get confused by the claims of others who want to take credit," Javadekar said in reply to a question regarding the alleged Delhi government's advertisements taking credit for the reduced pollution levels in the national capital.
Speaking about the steps taken by the Centre to fight pollution in Delhi and its surrounding regions he said, "The problem in Delhi and nearby regions had started and heightened since 2006 but was little discussed and acted upon till 2014. Prime Minister launched the Air Quality Index in India which was the first recognition of the problem."
The Union Minister stressed upon the fact that the Centre's decision to construct eastern and western express highway had made a big difference to the air quality in Delhi.
"We have created two bypasses at the cost of Rs 17,000 crores, the eastern and western express highway, and these have made a big difference to the air quality. It was the Centre's job and this has made it possible that 40,000 undestined vehicles are now not entering Delhi," he said.
Earlier, Javadekar in the press conference said that India's green cover had increased by 15,000 square kilometres in the last four years.Asked whether afforestation has worked, Javadekar replied, "In the last four years, the green cover of the country has increased by 15,000 square kilometres. There are only a few countries in the world whose green cover has increased, that includes India."
( With inputs from ANI )