Along with ecology, Shimla‘s traffic cops worst hit by vehicular emissions while apathy of HP Govt. and Police Department continue
SHIMLA- Before we began with our lecture on ecologically disastrous phase through which the capital city Shimla is going through, we would appeal people to watch the irony of traffic policemen on duty. We realize that these cops are victims of government apathy as they are worst hit by toxic vehicular emissions. They are exposed to it all day long, daily. Literally, does government have any idea that it’s toying with physical health of the traffic cops on Shimla roads?
The issue is not limited to just one bus or one HRTC bus. These cops spent their entire day on roads and are mocked at by variety of vehicles including private bus operations and transporters.
The Shimla Police SP, DW Negi, is equally apathetic to men under his command or may be, he is just too ignorant to understand the intensity of the issue. We are extremely sorry to say this but for such a responsible position in a city that is getting crowded and expanding day by day, the government must choose educated people with a little relation to scientific approach.
As we approached the HP Pollution Control Board, it put all the blame on Police Department and Transport Ministry. PCB said it doesn’t check vehicular emission and it’s entirely on the traffic police to keep a check on it. So, the PCB has nothing to do with air pollution caused by vehicular emission. That is very interesting for the pollution control board to say that.
When the complaints were repeatedly brought to the notice of GS Bali, the transport minister of Himachal Pradesh and HRTC, we received following response defending their inability to rectify the situation:
Both the minister and HRTC think we are following these buses for about two years for fun, inhaling all that emissions. They think, it’s our over-reaction and the situation is ok.
We would avoid criticizing the DSP traffic and the traffic cops – they are the victims. The bureaucracy in Himachal is extremely ignorant and lethargic. We wonder how Delhi Govt. managed to take so many steps to curb pollution, even connect every pollution-check centre a central server that is controlled by the government, and not by the centers. The certificate will be printed only after central servers receive actual data from pollution test. There have been so many other measures that the government has implemented in Delhi without a second thought, like temporary ban on sale of diesel SUVs, Odd-Even formula, replacing corporate cabs with dedicated CNG shuttle buses, huge fine on burning garbage in open, and so on.
In Himachal, despite National Green Tribunal’s ban on diesel and petrol including all commercial activities responsible for rising air pollution, the government denies that it has never taken any serious measures to curb air pollution. Rather, it says there is air pollution and that the decision of the NGT will be challenged in the Supreme Court. People think NGT is the villain here, depriving thousands of locals of their livelihood.
The NGT is not responsible for the loss of employment and businesses in Manali, NGT isn’t the villain here, but it is the government who was given repeated warnings, directions and time to frame policies to gradually handle the problem of rising emission.
The decision came after the HP state government failed to implement previous guidelines passed by NGT to introduce CNG buses for tourists. This harsh decision has now destroyed livelihood of a large number of private cab service providers and other small businesses dependent on tourism.
The Transport Minister had announced replacement of buses older than 10 years with new ones. The announcement to introduce electric buses was also made.
However, we wonder, why there is no measures to check visibly polluting vehicles (private & government). What’s government’s strategy to deal with pollution-check centres that are literally selling ‘OK’ certificate for Rs. 100, even less? What about maintenance of buses which are not as old as 10 years but are still visible spraying emissions? What about creating awareness among individual vehicle owners about their responsibility towards maintenance of ecological balance and effects of emissions? Where are we in terms of infrastructure for electric buses/CNG buses?
Although, we are more than sure that our ignorant representatives and highly irresponsible departments will ignore it with 100 percent commitment, like always, we would demand some action, formation of some comprehensive plan to check vehicular pollution in Himachal. Isn’t it what the government is supposed to do?
We would request our readers and citizens of Himachal to help us highlight rising vehicular pollution in different regions of Himachal due to neglect of government and individuals. If you come across any such visibly polluting vehicle or any practice that causes air pollution, please, do capture it and share it with us. We can’t reach every corner of Himachal, but we can connect to people who are willing to play a part in creating environmental awareness in the state.
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