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Feeling of Déjà vu as the year nears end

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By Sidharth Mishra

As we enter the last week of the year, and as has been the norm in the newspapers it’s the time to look back. For a resident of national Capital region, looking back at the year which is about to end can only give a feeling of déjà vu.

The winter has set in with the chilly winds but one can’t be complaining. Thank the good God for having send those winds to Delhi to clear it of the poisonous air. For about a decade now, the citizens are forced to live in gas chambers and then the Gods send winds which makes breathing somewhat easy.

If the Gods were not there, matters would not have been helped. Despite the huge insertions in the newspapers with a smiling chief minister announcing installation of smog towers, Delhi’ites failed to get fresh air even within the 100 metres radius of these highly publicized devise to clear the air. At least there is no data to reflect towards that.

The farmers have finally lifted the more-than-a-year-long siege of the national Capital after they managed to have their way with the central government. For those commuting between Delhi and its suburb for job, the end of agitation has come with a sense of relief. This ‘jam’ may have ended for good but there are several other ‘jams’ staring the national Capital at its face.

There continues to be uncertainty about the reopening of the schools and colleges. The students and the teaching community has been the worst sufferers. First it was on the account of Covid and then pollution that the schools and colleges were shut down. The situation of uncertainty vis-à-vis Covid is today same as it was last year.

The year 2021 saw a big catastrophe when the Delta variant of the virus struck the city and the suburbs with vengeance. The health system came crashing down and despite the tall claims of the government, both state and Centre, it proved unequal to the job. Now wonder for days together crematoriums and the burial grounds saw long queue.

Are we ready for Omicron? At least from the government advertisements on the newspaper pages, like the last year, doesn’t seem that it’s even acknowledging the arrival of the new variant. We are seeing promotions about pilgrimages, celebration of festivals and chief minister being in the Shravan Kumar avatar but no measures visible which could build confidence the new variant.

The God who has been kind in clearing the polluted air in the national Capital, hopefully it would ensure that the new variant turns out to be much less potent than the Delta variant which struck during the year 2021. The city and its suburbs are not just ready to take on the virus load.

On the political front, 2020 had ended with the political rivals in the national Capital – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) taking the bedlam to the streets of Delhi. While the three Mayors of the three municipal corporations entered into a fast-unto-death outside the residence of the Chief Minister, the Chief Minister let loose his two trusted legislators Atishi Marlena and Raghav Chadha to lay a siege of the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. With municipal elections slotted for April 2022, the fracas has only got bitter.

The light at the end of the dark tunnel is that the Supreme Court has taken the issue of pollution in the national Capital with a lot of concern. Hopefully the apex court delivers an order which has the same potential to bring change as did the order in the MC Mehta case.   

(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice) ***ENDS*** 


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