The Delhi strangler is back

We are choking! In desperate need of help! In Delhi—extending to the whole cluster of cities that’s the national capital region.

Published: 09th November 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th November 2017 03:37 AM   |  A+A-

We are choking! In desperate need of help! In Delhi—extending to the whole cluster of cities that’s the national capital region. The air is heavy and toxic, difficult to breathe. A thin, evil murk has brought visibility down to a few feet. Rendered opaque in a greyish brown shroud. Young people are investing in masks, middle class homes are fitting air purifiers.

No, there’s no forest fire or natural calamity. Just that the authorities are concerned with other themes. Particulate matter is yet to take their political breath away, even though a public health emergency is upon us—a man-made emergency, fuelled by traffic, diesel generators that run homes and factories in the absence of regular electricity, construction dust, and smoke from the fields of Punjab, Haryana, western UP.

The fields that send food to our tables and then choke us—there’s 20 million tonnes of paddy stubble in Punjab alone, and the bulk of it is burnt! Diwali was low on crackers, so there was a little respite. The air quality index was less than severe.

But no one thought it fit to prepare for this early winter smog mania. Lungs, brain, many other vital organs, all are under attack … whispers of cancer, other chronic disorders. In Delhi, after some prodding from pollution control authorities, non-peak hour Metro fare has been reduced. And schools are closed till Sunday. The odd-even experiment to reduce cars on the streets is being talked about again. Flights and trains have been cancelled.

Those who have the option of leaving the city are doing that. And it’s not as if we have been industrialised on a par with China that we’ve to battle pollution on this scale. We are still looking for investment. Will it come to a country where the Taj itself is turning black … to cities filled with toxins in the air and a population struggling with ailments? The embarrassment of seeing the prime minister receiving the Belgian king and queen in the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt, partially engulfed in a cloud of pollutants, would hardly be a great Make in India advertisement.

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp