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Union Minister Prakash Javadekar while addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday has urged the Punjab government to direct the farmers to stop stubble burning in the state. Referring to the problem caused by stubble burning Javadekar claimed that while he was traveling to Ludhiana, Punjab recently his throat choked due to the smoke produced from the burning of the crop residue. 

He said, "Delhi pollution situation is critical during the winter. Himalayan breeze, moisture from Ganga, dust pollution in north India, and Delhi being a plain area, create a crevis for pollution." 

The increased stubble burning in Punjab has led to more pollution, said the minister. 

"Punjab govt should stop stubble burning. As of now, there is about 4% of the air pollution being caused by stubble burning. All these factors together contribute to the pollution crisis in Delhi," Javadekar said. 

Notably, the remarks have come at the time when the air quality in Delhi deteriorated, reached the 'very poor' levels on Thursday, and the grey haze covered Delhi-NCR. 

However, the claims made by Union Minister did not go well with the state and the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) officials have now come up with lucid reasons for poor air quality in Delhi. According to PPCB's report, Delhi continues to be the most polluted even at the times when there are no farm fires in the state. 

The officials said, "Delhi should check pollution within the state as Punjab is not responsible for it."

According to Karunesh Garg, PPCB member secretary, pollution caused within the region is the main cause of poor air quality and the govt should focus on plans to cope with instead of attributing it to Punjab.

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"It is a myth being perpetrated that Punjab farmers are polluting the environment in Delhi and NCR by burning wheat or paddy residue," Garg said. 

PPCB chairman SS Marwaha said, "It is wrong to hold Punjab responsible for pollution in their own state. Delhi should check the pollution within its territory."

"Stubble burning is not the only cause of pollution in Delhi," he added. 

Punjab has a safe or moderate pollution level whereas the national capital still has unhealthy air with poor AQI. The message is loud and clear that stubble burning incidents of Punjab are not responsible for Delhi's pollution.

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