Monday, September 16, 2019 04:16

Dust particle budget at centre of high-level political fight

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The dust storm crisis in Iran has led to a serious dispute between the administration and Parliament, as the Department of the Environment is now accusing Parliament of refusing to assist the administration, adding that the legislative body has even gone ahead and eliminated the budget allotted to fighting the problem of dust particles, which paralyzed numerous cities in Khuzestan in recent weeks.

Parliament, on the other hand, accuses the environment department of shirking its responsibilities and failing to do enough in this regard.

On Tuesday February 24, Ahmad Ali Keykha, the deputy head of the Department of the Environment, referred to the elimination of the dust particle budget, saying: “In order to uproot this crisis, we need a complete overhaul of the policies in all national programs in Parliament and the administration.”

ISNA reports that Keykha criticized Parliament for eliminating the minimal budget the department had managed to convince the administration to set aside for dealing with the problem of dust particles.

He said there is no will in Parliament to confront the problem of dust particles that has been threatening the people of Khuzestan, Sistan-Baluchistan and other parts of the country.

He said the elimination of the budget has put an end to the minimal preliminary actions that could have been taken right away. Keykha said: “In Khuzestan, we were using our minimal funds to set up a pump for Shadegan Lagoon, which needed about two to three million toumans. Such concrete actions will be halted because we have no money.”

The head of the Department of the Environment had reported earlier that the government’s immediate steps to tackle the dust particle problem included the purchase of weather prediction equipment and pollution gauges as well as the improvement of services provided by Khuzestan health centres.

The elimination of the budget, however, throws doubt on the extent and effectiveness of government action with regard to the dust particle crisis.