In what can be called as the brazen apathy of leaders and top babus, a key Parliamentary meeting on pollution had to be postponed as majority of the officials failed to turn up. From top officials of the Union Environment Ministry to DDA and municipal commissioners, more than 20 functionaries stayed away from a key meeting of a parliamentary panel held in Delhi on Friday on the issue of severe pollution in the national capital, sources said. The development comes as the air quality index turned severe on second consecutive day in the National Capital region. Latest reports say that the committee is planning to raise the issue with the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
They asked junior officials to convey to their seniors that they should have attended the meeting, sources said. The officials who skipped the meeting included top officials of the Environment Ministry, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and municipal commissioners, they said.
The questions that the members were planning to raise included: As there are about 50 lakh cars on the roads in Delhi, is the government coming up with any sort of car pool policy or regulation?
Another question was that as per the Union Government, Rs 1,150 crores were given by the Centre to the states in the last one year to combat air pollution along with 14,000 machines. Does the government have a quantitative and qualitative utilisation report of the money disbursed? The third question to be raised pertained to the Supreme Court's recent observation that everybody ranging from the secretary to the gram pradhan will be held responsible for losses due to air pollution. Does the government, in this regard, intend to define and fix responsibility through an internal mechanism?
The national capital is battling alarming levels of air pollution for the past few weeks. The air quality further deteriorated in the last four days, forcing authorities to shut schools for two days.
Toxic smog continues to shroud Delhi-NCR with air quality index turning severe yet again. According to Ministry of Earth Science-backed System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the AQI level in and around Delhi was in emergency zone. While the overall air quality index of Delhi stood at 482, neighbouring Noida and Gurugram had worst air than the National Capital. The Air Quality Index in Noida was registered at 583 and the pollution indicator in Gurugram was at 548. According to the CPCB, another government agency, Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad breathed very poor air with the AQI hovering at 478. Greater Noida was shade better at 460. With morning and overnight temperature dipping to 18 degree Celsius, the smoggy condition will prevail in the region.