Light rains likely in Delhi; respite from smog expected

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Summary: Pollution at hazardous level: Kejriwal seeks meeting with Punjab, Haryana CMsDelhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal writes letter to his Punjab and Haryana counterparts for an immediate meeting as Delhi recorded a sharp dip in its air quality.

With stubble burning triggering a major smog crisis in the northern belt of the country, Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh has again written to Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, seeking compensation for farmers for crop resident management to check the unsafe trend of stubble burning.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environment and Forest has created a seven-member committee headed by the environment secretary to monitor the implementation of the short-term and long-term solutions.

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The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) scale shows Delhi having an AQI of 486 whereas the index for Ghaziabad (499), Gurgaon (494), Noida (487) and Faridabad (482) are equally bad. Official sources said the Centre chose to go ahead with GRAP after an urgent meeting was held on Thursday.

The maximum air quality in the national capital and its nearby areas is hovering between 400-700, which is above the danger level.

Amid the tussle going on between the Delhi and Punjab government over the stubble burning issue, the Pakistan government has now a suggestion for Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to tackle the air pollution issue. The Delhi government has directed schools to stay shut till Sunday and brought back the odd-even traffic rationing arrangement to cut the number of cars on the roads. Khattar rebuffed that penalties had already been imposed on farmers burning stubble and it is Punjab that is still not ready to impose fine. Singh also hit out at Kejriwal, calling him a "peculiar person".

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"There is 20 million tonne of paddy straw in Punjab. Kejriwal doesn't understand this problem", he said.

The Punjab chief minister said he requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene a meeting of the chief ministers of affected states along with union ministers in order to find out a solution.

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