In a confusing turn of events, Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, re-issued a statement rejecting a report on pollution and mortality on Tuesday, a day after his Ministry issued and later retracted the email.

On Tuesday, Javadekar had termed the study by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in collaboration with the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, Colorado, as “motivated”. IITM is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. He had said the timing of the report was suspect as it coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.

He later retracted the statement.

However, on Wednesday, the Minister held a press conference rejecting the “claims made in a so-called article that Indians lose six years of their lives due to air pollution.”

He was responding to news reports on an article – Premature Mortality in India due to PM2.5 and Ozone exposure – that claimed Delhiites were losing 6.3 years of their lives due to air pollution. According to the study, the average loss of life expectancy all over India stood at about 3.4 years.

Javadekar said the study was incorrect as it was not based on “ground study” and was based on statistical algorithms and extrapolation on studies conducted in other countries.

He said the government was working on reducing pollution with several measures, such as introducing Bharat VI fuel norms, new rules on waste management and in attempting to reduce biomass burning, besides others. He further said that air pollution was not the only concern and there were pollutions of several kinds. He said many countries and cities are burdened by pollution such as the high levels of ozone in California; high levels of NOx in Mexico, the UK, the UAE and China; and high SOx in China, Iran and other countries.

“Because of the neglect of last 10 years the pollution problem has become severe (in India),” Javadekar said.