Future city of Masked Men & Mummies
| 21 Oct 2017
| Onkareshwar Pandey, Editor In Chief, NOP

Future city of Masked Men & Mummies

• By Yajin Bhatt

The change of seasons is welcomed by one and all but for the dwellers of this capital city, change with seasons come with their own set of problems and disease. Come monsoon Dengue, Chikengunya and other frightful diseases make havoc of our lives. Similarly with the onset of autumn and then winters the choking environment of this place is nothing less than a hell.

Established in the year 1912, as the capital by the Britishers, soon after, they shifted from Kolkata to Delhi in the year 1911. Proper rules and regulations were made which in fact are being followed even today, to maintain the beauty and ambiance of this zone.

Being a regular commuter to this place, this is the only area where one could afford to bring down the glasses of car and breathe the whiff of fresh air. only this NDMC area of Delhi gives us the feel of capital city with its lush green tree canopies, evergreen bushes and Swachh Bharat in real sense.

The entire North India heaves the sigh of relief from the scorching heat of summers & irritating climate of monsoons. For us this month garlands us with breathing problems, burning eyes etc even though the gifts of Dengue Chikengunia like diseases are still lurking around.

While people in other places welcome winters with warm cloths blankets etc the people of Delhi welcome its winters by repairing or buying new nebulizers cough and cold medicines etc. and masks to fight out the dreadful Smog.

One of many factors responsible for the deteriorating condition of Delhi’s environment is its fastest growing population.

Delhi is world’s second largest populous state after Tokyo. We are moving on with a fast pace to overtake them in the coming years.

If we compare 1990 and 2016 census Tokyo had 3,25,33,000 population in 1990 and today it is 3,81,40,000 which means 17.23% growth in these 17 years. On the other hand Delhi had population of 97, 26,000 in 1990 and today its population is 2,64,54,000 with a galloping growth of 172% in the same period.

There are about 929 Jhuggi Jhopdi colonies, commonly known as J.J colonies with East Delhi having123 colonies, West Delhi with204, North with227, South Delhi with282 colonies and central Delhi having 93 colonies in their kitty. This city is also blessed with approx 1642 irregular colonies. However the population of NCR zone also accounts for 26 million in the total population of NCT.

Unlike, other metro cities, Delhi is the biggest metropolis. People from every nook and corner come to this place first to make their living, till it becomes their home. No one owns Delhi but this place adopts and owns everyone. It is home for Punjabis, Biharis, Marathis, Gujratis, Haryanvis, Rajasthanis, Purvachalis, people of NE, Bengalis, and South Indians.

In fact Delhi is also called mini India. To accommodate such an enormous crowd, the green cover of this place was made to sacrifice. All this was done for the concrete structures like the residential complexes, commercial buildings, factories, industries, malls etc.

If I recall some years back around 2003-2004 there used to be huge trees and bushes covering a stretch of about 20 km from Najafghar to Tilaknagar, which was called GREEN TUNNEL.

The entire area was adorned with thousands of Neem, Peepal and other age old trees. Today, the same stretch is adorned by the metro rail track, a very good example of ‘win some and loose some’. Here, quite understood what we have won and what we have lost in this case.

In absence of the green cover in the major portion of the capital city the pollution has played havoc with the normal lives of the people. When the people of other places pack up their Air conditioners, coolers etc and open up their window panes for season’s fresh air, the people of this city are forced o block even the small air gaps to stop the entry of obnoxious gases and dust present outside.

The primary reasons for the deteriorating air quality are One, the vehicular traffic on the roads. With the total area of about 1484 sq km, both urban and rural included there are approximately 1.2 crore vehicles registered in this much area, apart from the vehicles entering from outside states. One can fairly imagine that in absence of adequate green cover where will the smoke and other harmful particulate matter go?

During summer season the warm polluted air rises up but when the mercury dips down this polluted air takes fairly good time to disperse, hence the rising level of pollution.
Furthermore, due to narrowing down of roads and lanes the traffic snarls are a common scenario. If we chose any one road during the peak hours in the MCD area, only 40% of roads are left for vehicular movement and 60%is under encroachment.

This gives rise to excessive carbon emission, polluting the air and making it hazardous for the normal inhaling. The deadly combination of smoke and fog i.e. smog, especially during winters, throws the lives of people simply into the ‘gas chamber, the phrase coined for this place just last year.

Second big reason of air pollution is the non-stop, construction work, going on, in the irregular colonies. There is a dangerous nexus between the small time builders and local administration (civic authorities).Besides, tax evasion, they are so gravely involved in grabbing the government lands, plots that come under Gramsabha and even the cremation grounds and graveyards are not spared.

With the blessings of the civic bodies, even the lanes and by-lanes are captured and within no time floor after floor are being raised, such that if the plot’s land area is 100Sq.yard, then the first floor comes out to be 130sq.yards with no direct Sunlight in such houses. Buildings are made without following any provisions and norms thereby contributing to both pollution and crimes.

The Third culprit is the weekly markets. They are being held on different days of the week. Such markets choke the roads and pavements and are the major cause of pollution. They will encroach within the dense inhabitations and residential areas in every nook and corner of this city. The people of this place obviously suffer from asthmatic attacks, choked throats and other respiratory diseases leading to unhealthy lungs.

The dust generated from such places, full of bustle, keeps on lurking in the air, for the days together. Under such circumstances, home air purifiers and masks will soon become necessity in the coming years.

But obvious, with so much pollution in the air, SC has come out with the significant order of banning the fire-crackers on this Diwali. As per the order, there should be no sale or purchase of any kind of fire-crackers till Oct 31. Unlike Police & civic authorities our judiciary has always commanded respect and dignity within all realms of social life and administrative set-up.

One important thing to take cognizance of, is that, in our country customs are the major source of Laws and customs are in turn related with different religious beliefs & faiths followed in this land. I fear with such an order, Delhi should not face “Jalikattu” like situation.

As the Honourable court has shown its deep concern over the deteriorating environmental conditions of this place, besides the short term measures it must also address the three primary causes of pollution without any further more delay, so as to nip the evil from the bud.

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