Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

Hardlook: Do we want to give the next generation a ‘poisonous city’ as their inheritance, asks N P Singh

In conversation with N P Singh, DM, Gautam Budh Nagar

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Delhi has implemented measures to combat rising pollution in the capital. This issue also affects NCR areas, with Noida and Greater Noida also witnessing increased levels of pollution. How is the administration looking at this issue?
For any growing city such as Noida, development should be measured in terms of the state of environment in the area. A lot of industrial and commercial activities are taking place in Noida. The last few years have seen a steady increase in pollution. This problem can acquire massive proportions if all of us do not come together and figure out a way of taking into consideration environment along with development.
Industrial activities, dust caused due to construction, vehicular pollution, use of vehicles which do not comply with environment norms, accumulation of garbage at various points in the city and open burning of waste, and use of polythene are some of the primary causes for the increasing levels of pollution here.

How is the Gautam Budh Nagar administration planning to tackle this?
As a district magistrate, it is my duty to take action and find solutions to this problem, be it by raising awareness among people or formulating policies with the help of local departments… We started this scheme from January 1, on an experimental basis, for a duration of two weeks. The idea was that during this initial phase, we will receive suggestions, hold discussions and modify the scheme as required.

What kind of challenges have you faced since the scheme started?
Many people and organisations have come to us complaining about how their business has taken a hit. For instance, some factory owners whose units are spread across various sectors have raised concerns over having different off days. Some multinational companies said changes in weekly holidays caused them inconvenience, since they deal with clients not just nationally but also abroad. We suggested they could ask employees to work from home on those days. In case they need a certain number of workers to come to office, they can sign an undertaking that these employees will use carpooling, and provide us the number of such employees and car numbers. We are ready to make alterations to ensure that business interests are not adversely affected.

Have you imposed fines on people and organisations that do not fall in line?
Not yet. We are observing how many individuals and establishments are following the scheme on their own. At the same time, we are holding discussions with various stakeholders, listening to their grievances as well as suggestions. At this point, I would say more than 80 per cent of those coming to us have been supportive of the measure.Any kind of change leads to some amount of inconvenience but individuals and organisations get the strength to adapt to these changes if they understand the goal. If they measure the amount of inconvenience caused due to this change against the difference it will make, they will appreciate the idea behind these changes. Most people look at various causes for pollution but they fall silent on how much they are willing to forgo to curb pollution. The need of the hour is to have a multi-pronged approach to combat pollution — through people’s movement, awareness campaigns and strict action against offenders. Every person, every organisation will have to realise that pollution will affect their physical and economic well-being. Will anyone want their children to fall prey to diseases caused due to pollution? Does anyone want economic development which makes a city so polluted that they cannot live there? Do we want to give the next generation a ‘poisonous city’ as their inheritance? The idea… is also that pollution becomes a priority concern for people.

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First published on: 11-01-2016 at 02:50:13 am
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