At a time when Delhi’s pollution levels have triggered a public health emergency, the Arvind Kejriwal government is sitting on pollution ads worth hundreds of crores of rupees instead of tackling root causes of pollution.
According to a report, an RTI filed by an activist, Amit Gupta, revealed that the Delhi government had spent over Rs 940 crore in the last seven years, however, the Delhi government failed to provide the actual amount spent on controlling pollution.
Gupta had asked for year-wise details of the amount spent on advertisements related to pollution control in Delhi from that year and the details of the steps taken to fight pollution and help received from the Central government.
In response, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP), Delhi Government, stated that it had spent approximately Rs 940 crores on advertisement related to pollution control which includes campaigns through print, electronic, and internet media.
Additionally, the media house that published the report has now removed it.
An outcome most probably out of fear of Kejriwal turning off the fund tap for media houses. All this advertisement money is spent to ensure none ask questions. And only positive stories remain in print. Newspapers understand the unwritten rule that none need to follow up on the promises Kejri government makes.
Delhi has faced criticism for high levels of pollution which has led to bad quality of air and raised health hazards. Delhi government had imposed the ban on the sale, purchase, and use of firecrackers just ahead of Diwali.
However, the ban remains ineffective as firecrackers are scientifically proved as not the main reason for air pollution in the Capital. The other major source of pollution, such as vehicular traffic, beef consumption, stubble burning meanwhile go unchecked.
In the past, the AAP government also installed the first smog tower in the city’s Connaught Place area, claiming that it will purify 1,000 cubic meters of air per second within a radius of around one kilometer.
However, in that too, environmental experts has raised concerns over the feasibility of the towers, mentioning that these towers may provide immediate relief from air pollution in a small area but they are a costly, quick-fix measure with no scientific evidence to back their efficacy in the long-term.