At 10 million, Delhi hits record number of vehicles; air pollution up too
There is no stopping the national capital from driving its air pollution to a new high.
The city of about 20 million, which ranks among the world’s top cities with foul air on a WHO list, has almost 10 million vehicles, a record it set this year.
Delhi government data released on Thursday shows the number of registered vehicles increased from 8.8 million in 2014-15 to 9.7 million in 2015-16 — a spike of 9.93% and the highest in eight years.
The city has the country’s highest density of vehicles, a primary source of air pollution.
According to an IIT-Kanpur report, toxic exhaust fumes from vehicles constitute 25% of the city’s air pollution. The latest government data show 6,502 people died of respiratory diseases in 2015, making it one of the leading causes of death.
Exhaust fumes coupled with smoke from farmers burning paddy stalk in neighbouring states and dust from construction sites formed the thickest smog for two decades to shroud the city after Diwali this year.
The Capital is struggling to reduce its air pollution, with measures such as a road rationing formula that allows cars with odd- and even-numbered number plates to ply on alternates days. The government as well as the National Green Tribunal and pollution control boards had banished smoke-belching trucks from the city and sought to scrap all ageing vehicles above 15 years.
But these measures are having little effect as people are forced to arrange their own ride because of an inadequate public transport system, which runs mainly on clean fuel such as CNG and electricity.
The ridership and fleet strength of the Delhi Transport Corporation — the city’s public transporter — depleted in the past year. From almost 3.9 million in 2014-15, the daily average ridership of DTC buses decreased to about 3.5 million in 2015-16, the data show.
The number of buses depleted from 4,705 to 4,352 during the period, despite the government’s efforts to bulk up the fleet to encourage people to use public transport more often to reduce air pollution.
The city needs 11,000 buses but even with private buses bolstering the operation, it is around 4,000 short.
Besides pushing air pollution up, the rise in vehicle density has clogged the city’s road network and forced Delhi residents to spend more time travelling. A study by six road design experts found recently that people’s commuting time has doubled in the past six years and traffic speed has halved during peak hours.
The average speed has come down from 42kmph to 20kmph. Experts said the city will crawl at 5kmph in 10 years, the average speed at which a human walks.
The data released by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia also inform that city’s per capita income stood at Rs 280,142 during 2015-16; it has more mobile and fixed line phones; and power consumption has come down to 24,037 million units.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on Sunday started trial runs on a 2km-long stretch between Dwarka Sector 21 and the upcoming India International Convention Centre (IICC) Metro section (Dwarka Sector 25) on the Airport Express Line, in a bid to provide better connectivity to Dwarka, said officials.
Picking the best of what they have learnt in the last two years, several medical colleges in the state have now started implementing changes to the internship program. The National Medical Commission introduced draft Regulations for Compulsary Rotating Internship rules 2021 with a focus on specific tasks across various departments of the hospital. A city-based dental institute has been training its students on how to intubate patients if required.
Mumbai: In a major embarrassment for the Shiv Sena, higher and technical education minister Uday Samant joined the rebel camp led by urban development minister Eknath Shinde at Guwahati. Ironically, the Shinde camp now has more Sena ministers than chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. Samant, who was unreachable since Sunday morning, reached Guwahati via a chartered plane from Surat with three more passengers, including his personal secretary and a Shiv Sena worker from Thane.
NEW Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party candidate Durgesh Pathak won the Rajinder Nagar assembly seat defeating his Bharatiya Janata Party rival Rajesh Bhatia by more than 11,000 votes in the bypolls to the seat results of which were announced on Sunday. The AAP will continue to dominate the House with 62 members of the total 70 seats. The BJP holds the rest of the eight seats. Five hundred and forty six people chose NOTA.
“I come from a humble background. I belong to a small village in Uttar Pradesh. No one from my village has been elected as the head of the zila parishad let alone becoming an MLA,” One of the youngest members of the Aam Aadmi Party's Political Affairs Committee, Durgesh Pathak, said. Pathak, who holds two Master's degrees -- first in English literature from Allahabad University and the second in public policy from Georgetown University, -- comes from the Sikhora village in the Uttar Pradesh's Sant Kabir Nagar district.