Concerned about air pollution, Priyanka Gandhi asks Delhi Congress to launch public awareness campaign

By Siddharth Sharma

New Delhi [India], Nov 6 (ANI): Concerned with the alarming levels of pollution in the national capital, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday convened an emergency meeting of Delhi Congress leaders and asked them to launch a mass awareness campaign to help people combat the menace.

According to sources in Congress, Priyanka asked the leaders to initiate a positive public awareness campaign to combat pollution.

The party will layout a full outline of the campaign soon and as per Priyanka's instructions the Delhi Congress will distribute masks and set up medical camps for the poorer section of the society, including rickshaw pullers and auto drivers.

"The campaign will not benefit the poor, but also connect us with the people emotionally," said a leader who was present at the meeting.

Priyanka also instructed leaders to join hands to combat pollution and refrain from playing the blame game. "We have to fight the problem of pollution. Instead of pointing fingers at others, we should think about what can we do?" Priyanka was quoted as saying.

According to sources, Priyanka was concerned about the poor, who she said was bearing the brunt of the air pollution. "Delhi Congress should therefore conduct an awareness campaign among the poor and help them. Assistance of NGOs could be taken to start a mass movement against pollution," sources quoted Priyanka.

The sources said Priyanka was of the view that the Kejriwal government's odd-even car rationing scheme was ineffective in combating pollution.

The issue of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, a major cause of Delhi pollution, was also raised in the meeting. Priyanka said that steps should be taken to curb crop residue burning in the states and agreed to raise the issue further to ensure that it does not happen in Congress-ruled Punjab.

On Sunday, Priyanka called for a bandh Delhi bandh on Monday. "As a citizen of Delhi and a mother, I support the campaign of Delhi Bandh," she had tweeted. She had urged people not to leave their homes in view of the dangerous air conditions. Stating that clean air is "right and responsibility" Priyanka had urged people to fight against pollution in a tweet in Hindi.

She had even cited the instance of 1952, when she said fierce smog in London claimed 12,000 lives and the law for clean air was passed.

Delhi witnessed "hazardous" levels of air pollution on Sunday. The situation, however, marginally improved on Monday which further improved on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Tuesday's meeting convened by Priyanaka, who is in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, is seen by party insiders to be significant as it was attended by Delhi Congress president Subhash Chopra, PC Chacko, national organization general secretary KC Venugopal and treasurer Ahmed Patel.

The leaders of the party's state unit requested her to dedicate time to Delhi on which Priyanka said she will always be available. (ANI)