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Kejriwal writes to PM Modi, seeks help for odd-even formula

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New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday sought cooperation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the odd-even formula aimed at reducing the number of vehicles on Delhi’s roads.

In a letter in Hindi to Modi, Kejriwal urged the prime minister to tell all his ministers and secretaries in the ministries to help implement the radical step that is aimed battling rising pollution in the capital.

He said the implementation of the proposed plan between January 1 and 15 will benefit if the prime minister issued the necessary direction or appeal.

Here’s the full transcript of the letter:

Honourable Prime Ministerji,

As you are aware that pollution has become a menace to the people of Delhi. We all are responsible for the issue and together we will have to find a solution to it.

In this direction, the Delhi government is taking many steps. One of the important decisions is to limit the number of vehicles on Delhi roads. In this regard, we have on an experimental basis taken a decision to implement the odd-even formula for the plying of motor cars between January 1-15, that is, in this period on one day only odd numbered cars will be allowed, while on another day only even numbered cars will be permitted. For the proper implementation of the plan, a detailed strategy is being chalked out. However, one thing is certain this rule will not be applicable on taxis, autos, public vehicles, ambulances and other emergency vehicles.

We are taking this unexpected and unpopular decision to reduce pollution in Delhi. Certainly, many people will have to face inconvenience because of this. But I believe this step to rid Delhi of pollution will be supported by one and all. In the case of favourable outcomes, we can repeat the odd-even formula. In this period, I and my colleagues will follow the plan and use car pooling to travel in the city. 

Through this letter, I urge you to motivate your ministers and supporters to adhere to the odd-even formula. In this manner, a good message will go out to the people of Delhi, giving strength to our efforts.

I am convinced if you would issue necessary instructions in this regard, it would have a significant impact in the country.

Thank you

Arvind Kejriwal

(With inputs from agencies)

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Home to 3 World Heritage Sites, Agra’s Pollution Level Continues to Remain Alarming

Not just human life, even the stone heritage is under threat

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Agra, Heritage Sites, Pollution
River activists here have demanded urgent steps to save the Yamuna, which is slowly dying due to pollution and lack of water. Pixabay

A quarter century of environmental activism, and a series of judicial interventions by the apex court, has not fundamentally changed the ecological conditions in the Taj Trapezium Zone, spread over 10,400 sq km. The air pollution level continues to remain alarming, affecting both humans and stones.

River activists here have demanded urgent steps to save the Yamuna, which is slowly dying due to pollution and lack of water.

Not just human life, even the stone heritage is under threat. Tourism has been badly hit and the health of the local population is in peril, the activists said.

Recommendations of expert committees are gathering dust and the Supreme Court orders have been blatantly ignored.

Agra, Heritage Sites, Pollution
A quarter century of environmental activism, and a series of judicial interventions by the apex court, has not fundamentally changed the ecological conditions in the Taj Trapezium Zone, spread over 10,400 sq km. Pixabay

Shifting orders for dairies, dhobi ghats, cremation sites, petha units, have been shelved. Transport companies emitting pollutants on the Yamuna Kinara Road, have not been shifted either.

The National Green Tribunal has been struggling with its orders on clearing encroachments on Yamuna flood-plains. After four years of dilly-dallying even the boundaries of the flood plains have not been clearly demarcated, the campaigners complain.

Vested interests had colluded to usurp precious land in the eco-sensitive Soor Sarovar area along the river, they alleged.

A public meeting, held on Sunday night at the Etmadudaullah viewpoint park here along the river, was attended by environmentalists, heritage conservationists and green activists, who collectively lamented the apathy of elected Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha members towards the Yamuna, the lifeline of the city.

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River Connect campaigners said the drying and highly polluted Yamuna was a constant threat to the safety of Mughal monuments like the Taj Mahal and Etmadudaullah, whose foundations need continuous moisture and a pollution free ambience.

In a resolution, the activists reminded Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkiri of his promise to start a ferry service for tourists between Delhi and Agra. In his recent election campaign speech at the Agra College ground, BJP President Amit Shah had promised that Yamuna cleaning would be taken up as a top priority after the elections.

Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken of steps to save the Yamuna.

Having announced the construction of a barrage downstream of the Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has suddenly developed cold feet, speakers at the conference alleged.

Agra, Heritage Sites, Pollution
The air pollution level continues to remain alarming, affecting both humans and stones. Pixabay

The river activists also demanded a comprehensive National Rivers Policy and a Central Rivers Authority.

Green activist Shravan Kumar Singh said that despite persistent demands, so far no initiative had been taken to desilt and dredge the river bed, which had become hard owing to pollutants, preventing seepage and percolation of water.

Environmentalist Chaturbhuj Tiwari said: “Though the Supreme Court had categorically directed ban on entry of cattle in the river and shifting of dhobis (washermen) polluting the river, no effort has been made by the district authorities in this direction.”

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The conference called for a white paper on the expenses incurred by various government agencies on cleaning the Yamuna between Delhi and Agra. A resolution passed urged all NGOs, voluntary groups and environmentalists to come on a common platform to launch a broader people’s movement to save India’s rivers and other water bodies. (IANS)