Thursday August 22, 2019
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Battling pollution or compromising on safety, Delhi women face tough choice

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New Delhi: The Delhi government’s decision to curb vehicles on the capital’s roads has given hope of battling pollution, but the measure, announced on an experimental basis, has become a cause of concern for women, who fear it would compromise their safety.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Saturday, was asked about the safety aspect when people leave their cars and take public transport.

“Would you guarantee my pocket is not picked or a woman is safe in public transport,” a male questioner asked.

Prefacing his reply with a “Delhi Police does not come under me” disclaimer, Kejriwal, who had announced on Friday that from January 1, 2016, odd and even numbers would be permitted on alternate days, said, “People are as safe in public transport as they are in private vehicles.”

Most women, while equally expressing concern about the environment, differed with the chief minister when it came to feeling safe on Delhi roads.

“I am not happy with this decision, public transport in Delhi is not very good and you have a tough time trying to take an auto-rickshaw.What are the women expected to do?” asked Diksha Saxena, an operations manager with a private firm.

“Even to walk on the roads of Delhi, you need armour.The idea sounds good but is not practical,” Saxena told a news agency.

Alka Kaushik, a freelance travel writer, said, “Its a senseless order, an imported concept which is being implemented without seeing the ground realities. Imagine, I cam use my even-number plate car one day, and the next day, I should use the insufficient public transport on the same route.If I can use public transport on a day, why not every day?

“But is that possible? Look at the route from Indirapuram (in suburban Ghaziabad) to Delhi University. The kind of people you come across while travelling, does the chief minister realise that? A car is not a convenience for me but a necessity. It is a solution to the inefficiency of authorities who could not give the people a good public transport system in all these years,” she added.

Kakoli, a Delhi government employee who did not want to give her surname, echoed this view.

“This should have been the second step.the first should have been ensuring there is a public transport system that can support half of Delhi’s population that drives on a single day,” Kakoli said.

“I am a single working woman, my car gives me the independence of movement, and to chose my working hours.If I cannot use my vehicle half of the month, what options do I have to fall back on,” she asked.

“There are couples who have two cars and have both odd and even number plates.Should I go looking for a partner with a different number plate.It is a compromise on my independence,” Kakoli maintained.

Shweta Arya, who works for a private firm, is not against using public transport but felt it was not an option if late working hours are involved.

“We cannot refuse work that spills over to late hours.If I am being asked not to use my car, what options are there? What if I need to go to hospital at a late hour? Or I have to go out of town.What are the options? ” she questioned.

Arya is however not all against the idea and suggests that the government should provide other options.

“The government must provide some options. For example if I am not using my car, there should be  a certain number of auto-rickshaws designated for our use, or there can be car pooling, the government needs to provide an alternative,” Arya told news agencies.

Ragini Jain, a home maker living in west Delhi, said while she is happy that it will mean reducing pollution, she also wondered how she will perform her day-to-day chores.

“There are numerous things to be done on a given day. Picking up children from school, getting groceries, managing a medical emergency since I have old parents at home, whom should I ask for help? Can anyone help you every day,” Jain asked.

“At the same time, I know some day we have to take a decision, for the sake of our children. Perhaps there is some more homework that needs to be done by the government,” she said.

A supportive voice, however, came from Divyani Garg, a doctor who found the idea good.

“its a good idea as per me. It’s a reasonable option to decrease the toxic levels of Delhi’s air pollution. I don’t mind the inconvenience as I am looking at the long-term benefits,” she said.

(IANS)

(Picture credit:www.huffingtonpost.in)

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Air quality Improves in Delhi After Several Years

Delhi's air quality improves to 'Good', best in years

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According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (Safar) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall air quality index (AQI) of Delhi, which was at 47, falling in the good category. Pixabay

Delhi hasn’t breathed this clean in years. Rainfall in and around brought the capital’s air quality on Saturday to the “good” condition, while PM 2.5 levels, recorded at 15 by the US Embassy and 17 by Safar, were the lowest in this year.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (Safar) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall air quality index (AQI) of Delhi, which was at 47, falling in the good category.

The level of PM2.5 was recorded at 17 and the PM10 level was recorded at 31 on Saturday, Safar said. These denote levels of particulate matter, of two sizes up to 2.5 and 10 micrometres in diameter, in the atmosphere. In comparison, the AQI in New York was recorded at “good” at 17, at 34 in Frankfurt, while in London, it was “moderate” at 52.

A CPCB scientist said that in 2017, the city had witnessed the AQI recorded below 50 – at 42, but could not recall the exact date. The CPCB is recording AQI since 2015 and such good conditions have not been seen in the last four years.

Gufran Baig, scientist and programme director, SAFAR, said that this is the lowest AQI recorded this year and it will remain good for another two to three days. He said that the air quality has improved due to widespread rain received in the northern parts of the country.

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The air quality has improved due to widespread rain received in the northern parts of the country. Pixabay

“Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, all areas surrounding are receiving a good amount of rainfall this year which is improving the air condition in the city. Such kind of rain was never received earlier so the air quality has never reached this level,” Baig said.

Also Read: 300 More Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations to Open in Delhi

Mahesh Palawat, Vice President, Meteorology and Climate Change, at private forecaster Skymet Weather told IANS that this was the longest spell of clean air experienced by Delhiites.

“The widespread rain has helped in improving air quality in Delhi as well as in Noida and Gurugram. Increased rainfall activity is likely to bring more respite in coming days,” he said, adding that the rain has helped in settling down pollutants. (IANS)