“Why are people being forced to live in gas chambers? It is better to kill them all in one go. Get explosives in 15 bags and kill them at one go. Why should people suffer all this,” the SC bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared on behalf of the Centre over its inaction toward curbing Delhi pollution.
The children go to school, the adults go to work; we take the bus and walk back home; we lead a happy normal life like many others in the world. There’s only one tiny difference, we’re choking. Autos have become torture machines, with the burnt smell of Delhi pollution in the air filling our minds with fear of death. Everybody is dying, technically, every living human being is moving towards their death, we’re just moving faster. What can we say? It’s a fast city. Finally, someone said it: “better to kill them in one go.”
What is it
The Supreme Court seems to be of the opinion that it would be more merciful to bomb people, than forcing them to live in gas chambers like Delhi. We agree. The city has turned into a haze of tall buildings or piles of garbage, who can tell the difference in low visibility? Yet, schools, offices and every other public space goes on as per usual. A health emergency was declared because of Delhi pollution, and yet, everything goes on as per usual. We breathe death and exhale our life spans, making them shorter and shorter while normal life prevails. This is the new normal.
The apex court slammed all states and Union Territories over failure in providing basic necessities like clean air and water. The whole point of borders, countries and governments is that a select people make sure these things are taken care of for a specified area. Without this, there is no point of voting. What are we voting for anyway? The country seems to be more concerned about ‘us vs them’ than our own lives. The politics of divide and rule has conquered our minds. So much so, that our minds are rejecting the needs of our lungs and siding with those of politically fueled hatred. Profit is the only thing that anybody in power cares about. The cost of said profit has become irrelevant. “What is the point of all this development? What is the point of being a world power?” the Supreme Court exclaimed.
The Supreme Court identifies reasons for the despicable state of our country’s resources as incompetence and politics. It has ordered all states and UTs to report back in six weeks explaining why a compensation should not be provided to the people for costing them their lives. Citizens would be able to move courts for compensation in cases of pollution-related illnesses. It pointed out that despite multiple orders, no measures have been taken and Delhi pollution has worsened over the years, becoming a laughing stock for the world. Justice Mishra said Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and UP must give compensation to Delhiites for Delhi pollution. “Life isn’t so cheap in India anymore. What was given [compensation] in Bhopal gas tragedy is nothing compared to what is given to victims in similar cases worldwide. The chief secretaries have no right to be in chair if they can’t serve people well.”
“Should this be tolerated? Is this not worse than internal war?” The SC bench has deemed this gross incompetence of governments an act worse than war. Delhi pollution is worsening every year. Crop burning has increased despite SC prohibiting it. Punjab, UP and Haryana governments delivered unsatisfactory responses regarding why they have let problems of governance seep into such matters. The bench also criticized the Centre and the Delhi government for failing to act in tandem and instead, playing a blame game. Measures like odd even and free saplings for Delhiites imply that the burden of solution lies on residents. However, the truth is that problems of this magnitude can only be resolved by governments leading people and policy in the right direction.
What will be done now
Measures to ensure this situation is not repeated next year are underway. UP’s air, water and garbage disposal problems are taking the entire nation down with it. These fundamental issues are to be prioritised over building statues and renaming places. The Delhi government and Centre have 10 days to take final decisions about installing permanent smog towers all over the city to curb Delhi pollution. SC has also asked Delhi about the steps taken with regard to anti-smog guns which spray atomized water 50 meters in air to bring down pollutants. The Centre is to form a high-level committee within 3 days to file a report within 3 weeks with ways of combatting the situation. The funds released to clean Ganga and Yamuna were also brought up. No real results have come out of investing large sums of money into the project. This level of corruption and apathy will be our doom. Global warming hangs above our heads like a sword on an hourglass. Walk over talk is the need of the hour. 40% Indians Won’t Have Access To Drinking Water By 2030
The Supreme Court seems to be done with governments and their excuses. It’s do or die for Delhi, mostly die up till now. Within three weeks we will know if the governments respect the SC and the constitution at all anymore.