Heights of apathy! High-level panel meet to discuss Delhi pollution cancelled as only four of 29 MPs turn up

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Updated: November 16, 2019 10:27:38 AM

The display of such extreme apathy comes at a time when Delhi and its adjoining cities remain enveloped in a thick layer of smog for the fourth consecutive day on Friday.

delhi pollution, delhi weather news, delhi weather update, odd evenDelhi and adjoining areas remained enveloped in thick smog on the fourth day on Friday. (Photo/ANI)

Delhi pollution news: At a time when ‘gas chamber’ Delhi is gasping for fresh air, our lawmakers and bureaucrats came across as the least worried by the precarious situation. A meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development to discuss the hazardous air pollution levels in Delhi had to be cancelled on Friday after top officials and MPs did not turn up.

While representatives from Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, DDA, NDMC, CPWD, NBCC and municipal corporations of Delhi were present, none of the three MCD commissioners, DDA vice-chairman, secretary/joint secretary of environment turned up.

Of the 29 MPs on the parliamentary panel, led by Congress MP Jagdambika Pal, were supposed to attend the important meeting, only four were present. Chairman of the committee Jagdambika Pal, Hasnain Masoodi, CR Patil and Sanjay Singh were those who turned up for the meeting.

According to reports, the committee has taken serious note of the absence of officers and MPs. Gautam Gambhir, the elected MP from East Delhi, is also part of the panel but was absent from the meeting. He is currently in Indore, as per a tweet by former India cricketer VVS Laxman.

The display of such extreme apathy comes at a time when Delhi and its adjoining cities remain enveloped in a thick layer of smog for the fourth consecutive day on Friday. The air quality index in the national capital continues to hover in the ‘severe’ category despite the Aam Aadmi Party government imposing the much-debated odd-even vehicle rationing scheme in the city.

Delhi and adjoining areas of Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Greater Noida and Gurgaon also recorded severe air quality forcing people to remain indoors. Schools in Noida and Ghaziabad have been shut till November 15 owing to the precarious air pollution levels.

The political class has been seen involved in a blame game over the pollution situation with no side ready to accept responsibility for the prevailing mess. While the Delhi government continues to blame the adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana for the situation, the Chief Ministers of these states have advised Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to focus on getting his own house in order. This game of political oneupmanship continues despite the Supreme Court taking a very strong note of the inaction by the governments of Delhi, UP, Punjab and Haryana over air pollution.

Also Read: Supreme Court pulls up Centre, AAP govt on Delhi pollution, says ‘this can’t happen in a civilised country’

Meanwhile, CM Arvind Kejriwal has said that a final call on whether to extend the odd-even scheme or not will be taken on Monday. “We do not want people to undergo unnecessary inconvenience. Air quality is predicted to improve over the next two-three days. A final call on extending the odd-even scheme will be taken on Monday,” Kejriwal told reporters.

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