Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Why have Parliament session in Capital if pollution is such a worry?

(He is an MP, Congress’ Gaurav Gogoi, who won’t reflect if the winter session of Parliament is any help in pollution).

(The winter session of Parliament is now over. Veeresh Malik works out the pollution it adds to the Capital and asks: How is it any better than farmers or festivals?)

Is there a way to quantify how much air pollution and emissions could be reduced in and around the National Capital Region, if winter sessions for Parliament were moved to a different city, based on whichever city had the infrastructure to support the temporary movement for a week or two? 

There probably isn’t, but at the same time, if Diwali as a festival can be blamed for bad air quality, then the complete winter session of Parliament may also need to be looked into as an event which happens around the same time that Delhi air quality reaches the levels it does. 

We have had enough of blaming farmers, festivals, motor vehicles, industries and more. Time to look within is now. Whether this can be quantified or not, an attempt can be made, and some figures arrived at.

There are about 800 Members of Parliament (MP) in India, both houses taken together, and each Honourable Member of Parliament has a retinue of people attached to them. I have in the past been associated with an MP, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and would put the number of people required to have kept him in good condition in Delhi to serve the Nation at easily over 100. Especially during Parliament Session. With much higher security needed now, that number has probably gone up.

Each one of these people needed resources of the sort that added to the load on Delhi’s infrastructure. The food trucks to supply hot meals, the flights and trains needed to move up and down from constituencies, the crowd management of people visiting for whatever reason, the maintenance of the gardens, the care and upkeep of expensive pets and hanger-ons, family responsibilities, weddings and functions to attend, that wonderful word “air-dash”, and more.

Then there was the sheer movement of paper. In sacks and trunks. Presumably some of that has been reduced now, but this is like the story of the office printer – it just kept acquiring more and more siblings. On top of that, winter is cruel to people visiting Delhi from other parts of the country not blessed with this biting cold, so up goes the dry-cleaning of woolens, the cost of keeping habitats warm as toast, and all this requires, again, energy to be consumed.

Which in turn means – pollution, emissions, and more. And we have not yet taken into account the impact of lakhs of motor vehicles needed to serve this huge load of people who descend on Delhi in the winters.

The main reason for air pollution is far too many human beings, along with their paraphernalia, concentrated around an area that gets bitingly cold during the winters. 

Let those who govern us think of reducing this winter load on energy consumption.

Instead of just blaming farmers and festivals, let us look at the fundamentals – if Parliament sessions were elsewhere during winters, we would have fewer people in Delhi and its environs.

Veeresh Malik was a seafarer. And a lot more besides. A decade in facial biometrics, which took him into the world of finance, gaming, preventive defence and money laundering before the subliminal mind management technology blew his brains out. His romance with the media endures since 1994, duly responded by Outlook, among others.

A survivor of two brain-strokes, triggered by a ship explosion in the 70s, Veeresh moved beyond fear decades ago. 

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