Tuesday July 17, 2018

Permanent solution for pollution in Delhi

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New Delhi: Keeping in mind the rising pollution level in Delhi, Prakash Javadekar on Thursday said in an interview that Delhi’s experiment with odd -even was a “short-term solution” but the union government is taking steps which would result in a permanent solution.

Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said the government would notify new construction and demolition rules.

Also, bypass for trucks has been ordered to be built and Euro VI emission norms would be brought in by 2020.

“Every initiative has its importance, but (odd-even plan) is a short-term solution. The steps we are taking offer a long-term solution to the problem,” Javadekar said in an interview.

A visit for journalists to the Paldev gram panchayat in Madhya Pradesh has been organized by the Ministry of Environment, where Javadekar has adopted six villages for setting up their social infrastructure.

Odd-even formula was introduced by the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to control pollution level wherein odd numbered four wheelers were allowed to ply on odd dates and even numbered on even dates.

The formula was on a trial basis for 15 days, beginning on 1st January 2016.

Two-wheelers and CNG vehicles were exempt. Experts said that the impact on pollution was limited during this fortnight though there was a sharp drop in traffic congestion in the capital.

Javadekar argued that construction and demolition waste was one of the major contributors to the pollution levels in the National Capital Region. “For the first time in India, we are ready with construction and demolition rules which will be declared in the next 15 days,” Javadekar said.

With the construction of a bypass for thousands of non-Delhi bound trucks and other vehicles pollution level will reduce permanently, said, minister.

“The project was being discussed for the last 10 years but Modiji got the construction started and it will be ready in the next 18 months,” he said. “This will bring big relief to the citizens who will also have to contribute by maintaining their vehicles, sticking to their lanes, cycling to nearby places and using public transport as much as possible,” Javadekar said.

He also said the government’s target of having Euro VI emission norms by 2020, fours years in advance to the previous UPA government’s target of having it by 2024, was a “huge target” which his government was confident of achieving.

According to the statement, some 150,000 e-rickshaws would ply on the roads of the national capital in the next couple of years as the government had already passed the e-rickshaw bill. “This will change the whole scenario in Delhi.”

The minister was upbeat about the progress in the clean Ganga campaign and said the government was considering a policy whereby the contractors for the effluent treatment plants would be asked to maintain it as well.

Following the CoP21 climate change meeting in Paris last December, the minister said that by June this year discussions on how to achieve emission targets in the next five years in every state and district will be carried out.

“Currently, India’s contribution to the world emissions is only five percent, whereas China, Europe and the US together account for more than 60 percent of the emissions,” he said.

“Our emissions will grow because we are on a growth trajectory but it will grow on a sustainability basis,” he said.

He said his government’s focus was on water saving, energy saving and efficiency measures as well as on increasing forest cover and green initiatives.(IANS)

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India Can Really Take An Ostrich Approach To The Condition Of Women?

A total of 548 global experts on women’s issues , 43 of them from India

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BJP Leader Asks Parents Of A Rape Victim To Express Gratitude To Them
Can India Really Take An Ostrich Approach To The Condition Of Women?. Flickr

-By Deepa Gahlot

You read with a mixture of alarm and scepticism, the poll report by the London-based Thomson Reuters Foundation that India is the most dangerous country in the world for women, beating Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

According to reports, a total of 548 global experts on women’s issues — 43 of them from India — were asked about risks faced by women in six areas: healthcare, access to economic resources and discrimination, customary practices, sexual violence, nonsexual violence, and human trafficking. And shockingly, India comes out as the worst!

We see women progressing in every field in India, but, there is also the increasing violence against women and young girls reported every day; not long ago, female tourists felt safe in India; but now, women travelling solo are constantly targeted. Everyday there are reports of the rapes and murders of minor girls, often accompanied by unimaginable torture and mutilation.

There has been outrage in India, and also holes punctured in the survey that has such a small number of respondents, but can we really take an ostrich approach to the condition of women? Even as education and healthcare improve for women — at least in metro cities — the contempt for women is socially and culturally ingrained in the Indian psyche. In a city like Mumbai considered progressive and relatively safe for women, the girl child is unwanted even by many educated and wealthy families. In spite of laws being in place, female foeticide and infanticide is rampant, to the extent that there are large territories where there are no girl children and brides for the men have to be ‘imported’ from other states.  As dowry murders and rapes rise, the more unwanted the girl child becomes.  The fact is that India’s gender ratio is deplorable.

And if the male child is valued over the girl child, he grows up believing that he is special and if he is thwarted in any way, he can resort to violence. In spite of education and exposure to progressive ideas, in the case of rape or sexual violence, the tendency to blame and shame the victim persists.

To give just one small example, in the West, accusations of sexual harassment resulted in united shunning of a man as powerful as Harvey Weinstein and many others in the wake of the #MeToo movement, that helped many women speak out about their experiences.

In India, Malayalam actor Dileep, who has been accused in the abduction and rape of an actress, and was boycotted by the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), was recently reinstated. This caused shock and dismay among women in the film industry.

A statement by a group of over 150 women film practitioners says it like it is, “A body that is meant to represent artistes of the Malayalam movie industry showed complete disregard for its own member who is the victim of this gross crime. Even before the case has reached its conclusion, AMMA has chosen to validate a person accused of a very serious crime against a colleague. We condemn this cavalier attitude by artistes against women artistes who are working alongside them. There is misogyny and gender discrimination embedded in this action.

“We admired and supported the Women in Cinema Collective that was formed by women film artistes in Kerala in the aftermath of the abduction and molestation of a colleague, a top star in the industry. We applaud the WCC members who have walked out of AMMA to protest the chairman’s invitation to reinstate the accused. We pledge our continued support to the Women in Cinema Collective who are blazing a trail to battle sexism in the film industry.

“Cinema is an art form that can challenge deeply entrenched violence and discrimination in society. It is distressing to see an industry that stands amongst the best in the country and has even made a mark in world cinema choose to shy away from using their position and their medium responsibly at this important moment. Today, women form a significant part of the film and media industries, we reject any attempt at silencing us and making us invisible.”

The Gujarat elections have brought the BJP and the Congress in close contest with each other.
Indian women. VOA

The preference for male children has had some unexpected ramifications. In a working paper published by the American non-profit, National Bureau of Economic Research, by Northwestern University’s Seema Jayachandran and Harvard University’s Rohini Pande (quoted in Quartz Media), finds that stunting in Indian children could also be blamed on the cultural preference for sons.

“In India, on average, the first child — if he is a son — doesn’t suffer from stunting. But, if the first — and so the eldest — child of the family is a girl, she suffers from a height deficit. And, then, if the second child is a boy, and hence the eldest son of the family, he will not be stunted. This happens because of an unequal allocation of resources to the first child”.

According to the report, “When Jayachandran and Pande compared India and Africa results through this lens, they found that the Indian first and eldest son tends to be taller than an African firstborn. If the eldest child of the family is a girl, and a son is born next, the son will still be taller in India than Africa. For girls, however, the India-Africa height deficit is large. It is the largest for daughters with no older brothers, probably because repeated attempts to have a son takes a beating on the growth of the girls.”

Also read: Has Legal Framework Turned a Blind Eye towards Under-representation of Women in Indian Politics?

In spite of all the Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao rhetoric, the required shift in the male-centric attitude towards a more egalitarian one is simply not happening; or, it is a case of one step forward, two steps backward. The Thomson Reuters Foundation report may be unfair and skewed, but being known as the rape capital of the world does nothing to improve the image of India in the world or even in its own eyes. (IANS)