A meeting of a parliamentary panel convened to take a hard look at the role of civic bodies to check air pollution in the national capital Delhi on Friday had to be put off after a large number of officials and lawmakers skipped the meeting. The handful of lawmakers who did make it to the meeting have asked the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on urban affairs Jagdambika Pal to take the case of the absentees with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
Among the missing lawmakers was Gautam Gambhir, the BJP’s East Delhi MP who has been particularly critical of the Arvind Kejriwal-led city government’s handling of the air pollution.
Like when Kejriwal held a media conference earlier this month to blame Punjab, UP and Haryana for stubble burning, Gambhir was quick to accuse him of holding Press conferences and not doing anything on the ground.
Friday was payback time.
AAP leaders roasted Gambhir for his absence. One pointed out that AAP’s Sanjay Singh, the only other member of parliament from Delhi in this panel, hadn’t missed the meeting.
“Does Delhi deserve such MPs who are busy with Jalebi Poha while missing crucial Parliamentary Committee Meeting on Pollution in Delhi NCR ?” tweeted AAP spokesperson and legislator Saurabh Bharadwaj with a photograph of Gautam Gambhir eating a jalebi. Gambhir is in Indore as a commentator for the India vs Bangladesh cricket match.
Gambhir hit back, insisting that he had contracted the assignment before his election and had to earn to support his family.
“I have complete faith in the people of my constituency, my city and my country. they will judge me by my work and not by the false narrative spread by the minions of the “honest CM” of Delhi,” Gautam Gambhir said.
Asked about the meeting that had to be postponed, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said: “Any committee has to take serious note. I will also enquire what has happened… I will investigate.”
According to the Lok Sabha website, the parliamentary committee was to be briefed on the role played by the municipal corporations of Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Council, Central Public Works Department in reducing air pollution in Delhi.
The Supreme Court, which expressed concern at the growing pollution in the national capital, later in the Delhi reviewed the effectiveness of the odd-even scheme in Delhi and told the government that if this scheme was to be effective, the government would have to extend the vehicle rationing move to two wheelers also.
The court has also summoned top officials of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, a move that is expected to see the chief secretaries go on an overdrive to check stubble burning.