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Delhi government prepares short-term plan to tackle pollution

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New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) Under attack from the opposition for not spending a single penny in 2017 out of the Rs 787 crore collected as environment cess, the Delhi government on Wednesday said it has prepared a one-year short-term plan to tackle air pollution, an official said.

A Delhi government official said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with senior officials on Tuesday evening and directed that the environmental cess and environmental ambient air fund be used for procurement of buses.

Earlier, the official said Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot also met DIMTS (Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd) officials over the issue.

Revealing the government’s plans, he said: "The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has prepared a one-year short-term plan, under which it proposes to procure 500 electric buses within one year."

He said the government was planning to procure buses of two different sizes — Standard and Medium.

According to him, a standard size bus costs Rs 2.6 crore while the medium size bus comes for Rs 1.6 crore.

Defending his government, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj in a series of tweets said: "Delhi government has never said we do not have money to tackle pollution. We have instead said we have budget to buy buses, but no space to park."

"We have said we are even ready to pay for aerial water sprinkling, we just need support from central government and Civil Aviation Ministry," he wrote.

Suggesting that the Lt Governor was not allotting land for depots for the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) fleet, he said: "Government has plan to buy 500 electrical buses (Midi and Std), but no depots to park them. LG (Lt Governor) controls land."

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