Instead of working on long term concrete plan to address the issues, the NCT, as well as the central government, is playing a blame game. Arvind Kejriwal-led Government is reported to be spending money on personal branding in the garb of advertisements, rather than corrective measures for alarming issues. A whopping amount of fifteen hundred crores have reportedly been spent on such eyewash of publicity and advertisements, siphoning off government’s exchequer.
Still worse, ministers are busy posing for photo-ops of handing out the masks which are termed ineffective by doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMs), the most prestigious public healthcare institution of the country.
The people sweating day and night pay direct and indirect taxes to the government for their safety, security, public health and overall development of the nation. In returns, what they are getting is a gas chamber for mass suffocation which is likely to cause deaths.
What the idea the gigantic think-tank of the government has come up to enforce is the ‘Odd-Even’ system is not even a band-aid solution to the life-threatening problem before all eyes. Again it is a mere publicity stunt on government’s part. What is the logic behind reducing the pollution by just restricting the select male-driven cars on the roads of Delhi?
Schools vans and cabs driven by irrespective of genders are free for movements. Public transports are under no lens. Two-wheelers are no issues. The vehicles driven by females are free from the odd-even check system. The vehicles boarded by VIPs and politicians can move freely as they do not come under the ambit of the supposedly visionary scheme. The individuals owning two vehicles with one odd and even numbers can drive and enjoy the rides any day and every day.
Even I do not have any problem with travelling as I commute to my workplace by metro, though I hardly find a chance to get a sitting berth in metro trains. The only personal grudge I have is that my shirt gets crumpled as the crowd crushes it only to gain a foothold on the surface of metro trains.
The larger issue is public health. On my personal account, even I have developed a breathing problem, chest pain and a feeling of burning eyes. I dread where to go from here. The economic policy of the central government has already shattered the lives of many including mine.
The corrective measures for controlling pollution may include 1. All the Delhi inbound and outbound trains should have a two-minute stoppage on the outskirts of Delhi which will reduce traffic congestion and pollution as a good numbers private vehicles, taxies and the likes ferrying the passengers will have a lesser frequencies in the capital town. Saving public time, money and energy is earning a wealth for the nation.
2. The current pollution emitting factories and establishments should be relocated elsewhere with appropriate compensation and certain provisions. Such industries cannot be allowed to run in Delhi and around in future.
3. The central government should enact a strict law against stubble burning and spreading smokes of whatsoever.
4. As a temporary relief and solution to the predicament, the governments should immediately press the services of sprinkling water all over Delhi-NCR.
5. There is a need for a special drive for plantation all around and fixing the accountability for pollution control and mangemnt.
Dr Birbal Jha is a noted author and social worker.