Nation’s Loss, One Man Gains: LET NO TUGHLAQ RULE DELHI…

By Sarkaritel April 25, 2016 11:11

Nation’s Loss, One Man Gains: LET NO TUGHLAQ RULE DELHI…

Nation’s Loss, One Man Gains


By Shivaji Sarkar


The national Capital — Delhi- belongs to the country and Delhiites are not its sole custodian. But Delhi suffers from Tughlaqs time to time. The latest Tughlaqi decision of odd-even road rationing of cars is not only illogical and illegal but is also crippling trade, business, education, Government work and other activities.

Pertinently, the BSE sensex’s fall for five consecutive sessions coincides with Delhi’s odd-even scheme. Add to this people in core business areas vouch for Delhi markets doing less business. Consequently, this creates a feeling across the country that India is once again becoming a difficult place to do business.

Undeniably, Prime Minister Modi’s efforts for easing business seem to have got into a literal road block. Questionably, how can a handful of people bar those living in the national capital region (NCR) and other “outsiders” from entering Delhi? Many come to Parliament, Supreme Court, hospitals like AIIMS, Apollo, Spinal Injury Hospital etc and offices. Some to get visas or board international flights, business purposes, wholesale trading, etc as the Capital is the hub of activity.

Raising a moot point: Can anyone trample on our Constitutional guarantee to move freely? Is it a conspiracy to hit productivity, jeopardize development process and non-creation of jobs?

Indeed, the odd-even rule raises serious questions about the whimsical way State power is deployed as the Motor Vehicle Act allows 24x7x365 days plying of all vehicles. It prevents the Delhi police from levying Rs 2000 illegal fine, which they showed as “charity” during phase one of the odd-even rule in January, collecting Rs 1.82 crore from 9140 illegal challans.

Worse, many families with sick people are being hounded by the police and so-called civil defence AAP volunteers. Parents cannot drop children to schools and many office-goers give their office a slip. Taxis indulge in “surge pricing”, three times more.

Rightfully many have now realized the folly of Delhi’s statehood. Problems were there earlier too but now it has reached the epic proportion. Recall, in 1956, Delhi was made a Union Territory. In 1993 the 69th Constitutional Amendment gave it special status wherein it introduced a system of diarchy. Since organized political Parties held sway, they avoided a confrontation with the Centre despite problems. However, the new “riff-raff anarchic system”, as emphasized by Chief Minister Kejriwal himself has brought Delhi to a grinding halt.

Thus, it is time for Delhi to revert back to being a Union Territory and revive the system of Chief Executive Councillor as the present APP Government literally is nothing but that. Yes, it has enormous powers to swindle public money as was seen when Kejriwal raised the publicity budget from Rs 26 crores in 2014 to Rs 526 crores in 2015. Today Delhi is flooded with his hoarding. Alas, the nation’s loss is one man’s gain.

Besides, it has failed in its aim: bringing down pollution. It was unsuccessful during the first phase in January when schools were forced shut for 15 days. This time around too, last week the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) bluntly told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that there is no data to suggest that the odd-even scheme has brought down vehicular pollution in Delhi.

Adding for good measure, “Fluctuations in PM10 and PM2.5 are due to the weather and change in wind patterns. Prima facie, there is no data to suggest the odd-even scheme has any impact on decrease in vehicular pollution.” The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) too underlined that fluctuating pollution level was primarily due to changing wind speeds and only a detailed analysis could ascertain the actual impact of the road-rationing scheme on air pollution.

Realistically, there was no decrease in traffic congestion and it crawled like any other day. This is not all. The odd-even scheme led to overcrowding of metro trains and chaos at Delhi’s borders resulting in security being severely impaired. Also, the promised buses are nowhere to be seen though reports assert that during January such “buses” caused losses of about Rs 5,000 crores to DTC. Who got the money?

Importantly, the courts which expressed concern about Delhi’s rising pollution need to understand the geographical conditions that cause seasonal fluctuations in air quality as the CPCB noted. Some of the court-driven restrictions on sale and registration of diesel cars, renewal of well-maintained private vehicles has led to severe misery for vehicle owners, who buy a vehicle because of compulsion not for fun.

The courts and NGT must understand that passing utopian orders do not solve problems. It only convolutes the markets and living conditions. If they are so concerned about diesel vehicles, which manufacturers say are Euro IV compliant and cause least pollution, they should ban its production. But allowing its manufacturing and banning its sale, resale, registration and re-registration of 15-year old vehicles are against law and ethics.

Such constrictions should immediately be removed so that people and businesses thrive and do not live under the fear of law enforcement agencies. A discreet enquiry would show how much black money is being generated due to such impractical orders.

As Delhi Ministers, Government officials and judicial officers move in official vehicles they are oblivious of the sufferings by the aam aadmi. Refusing to travel by public transport does not make one “elite” but there is no alternative. Moreover, driving a vehicle costs more and causes more fatigue. Therefore, let us say good-bye to utopian experiments at public and national cost.

Organisations like NGT should do a better job than banning vehicles — new or 15 year-olds. If they can allow Delhi Government to run 15 year-old ramshackle buses to ply as “paryavaran buses”, they cannot impose a ban on people’s vehicles. Let Delhi and the nation move on a path to progress.

All in all, progress would be hampered if Delhi remains a State and has diversified authorities — Centre, Lt Governor, State Government and Municipal Corporation controlling it. This needs serious consideration and not politicking.

Delhi belongs to India and nobody can impose an order that crushes the right of citizens. Let its Statehood be cancelled by repealing the 69th Amendment. The nation would gain. —– INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

By Sarkaritel April 25, 2016 11:11