Delhi the city of dreams by Shivam Vij

It was bad enough that Delhi had earned the reputation of being one of the world's most dangerous cities for women; now, we are told it's the world's most polluted city. The haters have never had it so good, and defending Delhi has rarely been so difficult.

Few people realise that Delhi, not Mumbai, is India's largest city. The Census of India doesn't agree - it counts Mumbai's suburbs as part of the Mumbai "urban agglomeration". In Delhi, however, state boundaries prevent it from counting suburbs like Noida and Ghaziabad as its precincts. If these and others in the National Capital Region are taken together, Delhi becomes the world's third largest urban agglomeration, with a population of 2.5 crore people, next only to Tokyo and Jakarta.

From 1951 to 2001, Delhi's population doubled every year. Between 2001 and 2011, the population growth was 20%. This decline in population growth was thanks to one thing India got right: developing the suburbs known as the National Capital Region or NCR.

Given that India isn't the best of governed countries, it is a miracle that the NCR is liveable at all. It isn't just Delhi's 1.7 crore people, but also the people from suburbs and traffic from across north India that makes Delhi so vulnerable to pollution from motorised vehicles and other sources such as the farm fires in Punjab.

As a proud Delhizen, I want to point out the chaos here is the same as seem across much of urban India. Given that the air quality of Patna, Gwalior and Raipur is nearly as bad as in Delhi and their population much smaller, I'd say Delhi has managed its air much better than many Indian cities. You can't breathe good quality air whether you are in Beijing or Bangkok. Air pollution is a common problem in big cities in the developing world.

This isn't the first time Delhi is panicking over air pollution. A similar air pollution Armageddon scenario loomed large in the late '90s, forcing the Supreme Court in 2001 to ban public transport vehicles from running on petrol or diesel and mandating their conversion to CNG. This reduced pollution in Delhi, but also took many buses off the roads and they are yet to return. The Delhi Metro has taken away at least 2 million passengers a day from the roads. Imagine the chaos and the pollution if the Delhi Metro, which began operations in 2003 and continues expanding, didn't exist.

Much of today's public transport crisis in Delhi is owed to the legacy of the poor response of the Delhi government to the Supreme Court's directives between 1998 and 2001. The Supreme Court and the government have both gone about making tougher regulation for commercial vehicles that ferry people who don't own cars. For car owners, however, the government has been spending thousands of crores of rupees building flyovers.

The alarm bells this time are so loud that hopefully the right lessons have been learnt. In two-three years, we should see a decline in Delhi's pollution levels. Two new Delhi Metro lines over the Inner and Outer Ring Roads will take the number of inter-change stations from 4 to 27. This will cut travel time, and make almost every part of Delhi accessible by the Metro. A lot more people will park their cars and take the Metro.

The Delhi Metro has become a model for cities across India and even beyond. The Metro was proposed for decades, but became a reality only in 2003. Similarly, creating peripheral highways to prevent trucks from using Delhi to criss-cross North India has been proposed for years - the current crisis should ensure this becomes a reality very soon. It will take time, but the Delhi government will eventually find the land to create new bus depots and put a lot more buses on the roads. For these buses to be effective, a dedicated bus corridor, much hated by car owners, is inevitable across the major roads.

Air pollution in Delhi is bad enough for doctors to tell patients of respiratory diseases to leave Delhi. Yet, I have no doubt that it will improve, just as it did in the early 2000s. Let us not allow ourselves to become hysterical over air pollution to the point that we start hating Delhi. It remains India's best city to live in. It has wide open spaces, lower rent and wider roads than Mumbai, it's far less muggy than Kolkata or Chennai, has a vibrant intellectual and cultural life Bengaluru can never match, and a welcoming society Bombaywallahs envy. It is also the place of choice for migrants from across India. Today's Delhi is what Mumbai used to be till the '90s - the city of dreams.

The 2012 protests over violence against women, non-stop for a whole month, showed India and the world that Delhi's people are willing to act to make their city better. Those protests were an inspiration for campaigns across the world. Let our battle with air pollution be similarly a model for the rest to follow. more  

View all 7 comments Below 7 comments
kejariwal  delhi  ko 5 years me nark bana denge ese kisee bhi lihaj se rahane layak nahi chhodenge except . On Thursday, 31 December 2015 2:40 PM, Sheetal Jain wrote: more  
Lions Clubs International, District 323 A3 has been requesting the Modi Government to teach people Pain & Weakness Management by Art of Self Healing, since Modiji became the PM. Reply is why don't you practice Yoga and practice Naturopathy! Can one do Yoga properly if one has pain in joints or backache? ASH - Art of Self Healing (SUJOK) is also based on Naturopathy, If people know Yoga and ASH it will help people as one experiences Pain relief in less than two minutes. It takes hardly two hours to learn ASH for Pain and Weakness Management., Is it not being allowed that the number of patients going to doctors will reduce and doctors will not get enough business? OR The money spent on purchase of Medicines will be reduced considerably so the vested interest will not get chance to do HERA FERI! The money given by the Pharma industry to doctors and politicians will be reduced considerably, so it will be difficult for them to fight elections? I HOPE KEJRIWALJI WILL TAKE INTEREST IN HEALTH OF DELHI PEOPLE to start with and prove to world what people can do on their own. I am ready to come to DELHI and demonstrate the efficacy of this simple Non invasive system of healing. 9323178565 more  
Air Pollution level can never be controlled without the participation of Luggage Carriers ie..Truck, 407 Tampu, Mini Truck as due to inter state trade most of the are brought from other state and most of the production of goods in Delhi are going to other States in India.These Vehicles run by Diesel should be converted to alternate fuel because about half of the pollutions are from these vehicles. Shifting of wholesale Markets:- From a long time govt issues land for paper market to gazipur and chemical market to Bawana but all the businesses are running from central old Delhi. There is Grain and Pulses Market in Shardhanand Market, Hardware Market in Chawri Bazar and All Kuan, Auto Parts Market in Kashmiri Gate, S.P.Mukerji Marg, Karol bagh and Filmistan, wholesale Sadar Bazar Market and Cloth Market of Chandni Chowk speed in Narrow Lanes called Gallis. All these Markets should be shifted very quickly as possible not speed in decades. Whenever these Markets shifted outside Delhi or at specific locations all the people depend on these businesses...owners and migrants from other states and their vehicles automatically shifted. This is the Delhi Government and with Central initiatives this is not possible. more  
 no hassle ...just make a e mail ID & start earning.. Dr Anirudh GargMob +91 8192908604  On Thursday, December 31, 2015 3:00 PM, Sheetal Jain wrote: more  
It has least nos of Bhaktas in the country. Delhi is the best. more  
Post a Comment

Related Posts

    • Stadium Naming

      Terrible idea to name Motera Stadium after PM Modi. Congress set an awful practice of naming stadiuma, universities, airports, roads & even planetariums after Indira, Rajiv, Sanjay & Nehru....

      By Ruchika L Maheshwari

      The anti Modi campaign is now becoming vicious and full of feelings of hate against him. With hate campaigners becoming determined and getting media publicity, there is anxiety now developin...

      By N.S. Venkataraman

      The so called farmers, by indulging in unprecedented violent acts in Delhi ,have made India’s enemies happy. As usual, those who instigated the innocent farmers and made them agit...

      By N.S. Venkataraman

      The agitation by section of farmers and their associates in Punjab against the recently enacted farm laws in Parliament by Government of India have been now going on for over 45 days, with no s...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
    • Why India need Mr. Modi

      Having been elected with clear majority two times, Prime Minister Modi clearly sees himself as a man of destiny. Obviously, he has firm convictions with regard to economic and social policy and...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
    • Is the protest against Farm Bill appropriate ?

      The demand over the several decades by various political parties and agricultural economists have been that the exploitation by the middle men (trading houses) should be put down by enacting stro...

      By N.S. Venkataraman

      It is high time that the journalists and activists should take a good look at their own image in the society and search their conscience whether they have always been neutral and unprejudiced.

      By N.S. Venkataraman
    • Government should be committed to population control

      Today, what stands between India and high prosperity index is the huge population, which still continues to increase at alarming level. To control the population growth, Prime Minister M...

      By N.S. Venkataraman

      When the world was attacked by COVID 19 and with no proven drug/vaccine available xfor treating the infected people, social distancing between individuals was advocated as immediate solution to sol...

      By N.S. Venkataraman

      Now, it appears that both the governments and the public are tired of lockdown. It appears that people have reconciled themselves to live with COVID 19, just as they have been living wi...

      By N.S. Venkataraman

      It is highly depressing to read news about the local people’s objection to bury / cremate the corona infected deceased persons in their locality. This is happening all over India and par...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
Enter your email and mobile number and we will send you the instructions

Note - The email can sometime gets delivered to the spam folder, so the instruction will be send to your mobile as well

All My Circles
Invite to
(Maximum 500 email ids allowed.)