Please play no blame game of politics on Delhi’s Health
“A public health emergency has been declared in Delhi
by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority due to
non-tolerable levels of air pollution making Delhi a gas chamber” reads the
order issued by Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of National Capital
Territory of Delhi dated 1st November 2019.
The order straightforwardly puts it to the people in common
that steep rise in pollution in the national capital is beyond human endurance
and hence it is advisedly not worth living. This poses a serious threat to
human life, more particularly those who cannot afford to get installed air
purifiers at their houses and workplaces.
The natural questions arise- who is supposed to make the
environs of Delhi worth living? What steps has the Environment Pollution
Authority (EPA) taken over the years to prevent and control the inhuman health
situation and the state of affairs? Is it enough to shut down the school
education for the three consecutive days as the order reads?
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
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
5. There is a need for a special drive for plantation all
around and fixing the accountability for pollution control and management.
By Dr Birbal Jha
(Dr Birbal Jha is a noted author and social worker.)