SHIVAM BHAGAT | 10 FEBRUARY, 2018
Shivam Bhagat of the Congress reflects on Delhi’s pollution problem.
“If you can't be in awe of Mother Nature, there's something wrong with you”- Alex Trebek
The main problems in destroying of Delhi’s oxygen. Pollution- from various sources such as vehicular emissions, industrial factories, stubble burning by farmers from Punjab and Haryana, Dust etc. The AAP government has mostly failed on every count. They blame our neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana for stubble burning but that constitutes only a small percentage in the pollution, vehicular and road dust are the main culprits. We were promised vacuum cleaning of roads, big air purifiers. They are nowhere to be seen. Will Arvind Kejriwal blame the LG Shri Anil Baijal for this too ?
Following are some points where the AAP and BJP government has not been successful:
DTC buses form the backbone of the public transport system as they carry more passengers every day than the Delhi Metro. Despite the demand for more buses, there has been no addition to DTC's fleet during 3Yrs of Kejriwal Government in Delhi. DTC bus fleet was 5445 in 2012-13. But, it declined to 4421 in January 2016, and further to 3951 in June, 2017
Metro Fare hike: Instead of increasing last mile connectivity Central Govt. increased Metro fares twice in a year. Its average daily ridership had fallen to 25.7 lakh in June following a fair hike, down by about 0.8 lakh from the May figure of 26.5 lakh, in October daily ridership plummeted sharply to 24.2 lakh from 27.4 lakh in September following another increase in fares. The 11% fall in the month of October may indicate that a lot of regular passengers have now taken to other modes of transport, both public and private, in the wake of the fare increase and this may have been a major contributing factor in the higher pollution witnessed in Delhi during October-November 2017.
Failure of Pollution under Control (PUC) Programme
- In Delhi alone there are 971 PUC centres but the transport department has only 28 inspectors and among them only one inspector is available for actual on ground inspection of so many stations.
- While Arvind Kejriwal Promised Corruption free Delhi but corruption on PUC Centres is the major cause of vehicular pollution. This includes use of fake software, issue of false passes and inappropriate tests. Out of 13.7 lakh emissions data that have been analyzed by EPCA for Delhi nearly 20 per cent of tests have recorded zero values of pollutants. This casts serious doubts on the efficacy of the programme and the licensing system of this govt.
- Poor compliance with the programme: EPCA report based on the data on total number of tests carried out during 1st Non’16 to 31st Jan’17 in Delhi shows just about 23 per cent of vehicles have turned up for tests. This needs a very strong tracking as well as a solution to ensure 100 per cent compliance. This is a poorly enforced programme.
- Poor failure rate – nearly all vehicles pass: Even among those vehicles that turn up for tests the failure rate is very low –
- Only 1.68 per cent of diesel vehicles fail the smoke density tests
- About 4.5 per cent of the petrol vehicles fail the CO and HC tests.
Thus, this programme is not even designed to catch 15 to 20 per cent most grossly polluting vehicles in the fleet.
Unspent Money: The public transport system in Delhi is in shambles. But Delhi government spent only Rs 93 lakh of the Rs 829 crore it collected as ‘environment compensation charge’ from goods vehicles entering the city. The amount was collected between November 6, 2015 and November 1, 2017. The Supreme Court had directed the Delhi government in 2015 that all money collected from cess levied on goods vehicles must be spent on roads, public transport and cycle tracks.
Now that we know the problems, here, are some solutions Delhi Congress along with All India Professionals Congress has proposed:
- Strengthen Public Transport System by increasing number of buses
- Increase Metro Connectivity and Reduce fares
- Stop Trucks from entering Delhi
- Eradicate use of diesel and encourage electric cars
- Stop Stubble burning- We urge the Central Government to subsidize the need of the farmers to help us breathe
- Encourage Solar power and even give out subsidies on it
- Vacuum Cleaning of roads on an immediate basis
- Stop Garbage burning on an immediate basis.
- Start spending environment cess that is being collected
- Start planting more trees to increase green cover
Apart from the above problems, there is one more problem that is increasing that is of “Tree Blindess and Tree cutting”. Environmentalists claim that crores of rupees were poured in for tree planting but none of it was spent, says environmentalist Verhaen Khanna, founder of New Delhi Nature Society- “Planting trees today has become necessary for survival, the environment affects us all, so we must take time to do what we can to improve it as our future generations survival depends on it”
As I end, I would like to add that AAP should stop fighting and bickering and start taking advice as ultimately we all care about Delhi and its citizens.
(Shivam Bhagat is Media Coordinator, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee. The views expressed are personal and not necessarily endorsed by The Citizen)
(Photo: Khalid Khan)