Smog persists, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana officials to meet tomorrow -Ashish Mukherjee
With the blanket of smog over the Capital refusing to lift for the past one week, the Delhi government has called a meeting with neighbouring Punjab and Haryana tomorrow to tackle the situation .
Saturday's meeting will be attended by secretaries of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab as well as scientists and environmentalists. They are expected to discuss the causes of the smog: rising pollution levels, impact of a growing number of diesel vehicles and the burning of farmlands in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Delhiites have been waking up to hazy mornings and no sunlight for over a week now. The smog level is so alarming that many are suffering from respiratory diseases.
Surandar Singh, an elderly citizen, says his wife has taken ill and doctors have advised him to avoid morning and evening walks.
Mohit Mittal, whose twin sons are just six days old, says: "Not just mornings, the smog cover is thick even at 2 pm. My children are just six days old. I urge the government to do something."
Smog is not uncommon for Delhi in the winters, but this year it has hit sooner than expected and is more severe. Poor wind motion is causing dust particles and particulate matter to hang in the air, adding to the problem.
While the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), whose campaign prompted the switch of Delhi's public transport from diesel to cleaner CNG in 2001, blames the condition on rising pollution, the Delhi government blames the burning of paddy fields in the neighbouring states.