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Delhi ranks 65 in Ease of Living Index, healthcare fares the worst

Compared to cities such as Pune, Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai, which topped the index, the national capital fared poorly in parameters such as availability of healthcare professionals, crime recorded, air quality and efficiency of collection of municipal solid waste.

delhi Updated: Aug 14, 2018 02:49 IST
Soumya Pillai and Sweta Goswami
Soumya Pillai and Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,Ease of Living Index,Mumbai
A drain full of garbage at Geeta Colony in East Delhi. The capital did not fare well in terms of municipal solid waste collection in the Ease of Living Index. (Ravi Choudhary/HT Photo)

National capital Delhi managed only the 65th rank out of 111 cities surveyed in the Ease of Living Index-2018 released by the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs.

Compared to cities such as Pune, Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai, which topped the index, Delhi fared poorly in parameters such as availability of healthcare professionals, crime recorded, air quality and efficiency of collection of municipal solid waste.

The index, released by the ministry on Monday, did not cover the entire geography of Delhi but only areas under the jurisdiction of New Delhi Municipal Council and the north, south and east Delhi municipal corporations. Delhi Cantonment areas were excluded.

Delhi faring poorly in air quality parameters came as no surprise to environment experts. The index also shows noise levels remained high in the city.

According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) report, Delhi ranks number four among the most polluted cities in the world.

“Delhi’s poor air quality is definitely a challenge but it is symptomatic of other infrastructure failures as well. We need to understand poor air quality is not the cause of the problems. It can be fixed if other cross-sectoral interventions are made. We need to be more aggressive and stringent in our approach of controlling pollution,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy) Centre for Science and Environment.

Other areas where the city has performed poorly are inadequate recording or crime cases. Senior Delhi Police officials said the department is working towards making the process of registering FIRs transparent.

“We made the FIR registration process online for several offences. This reduces human intervention and gives public the convenience to file complaints. For more heinous offences, especially in crimes against women, we have zero-tolerance against officers who refuse of file FIRs,” a senior Delhi Police official said.

Despite the Delhi government’s efforts in the health sector, the city ranked the worst (111) when it came to availability of healthcare professionals and incidences of water and vector borne diseases.

Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain, however, said water and vector borne diseases have seen a decline of almost 58% this year compared to 2017, which he said was not included in this study.

“From January 1 to August 10 this year, 35 chikungunya cases of Delhi residents have been recorded. Last year, it was 140 during the same period. There have been 88 malaria cases this year. Last year there were 150 cases. And only 49 dengue cases against last year’s 118,” Jain said.

The Delhi government said it had no role in the inadequate number of healthcare professionals as the power to recruit them lies with the lieutenant-governor.

In the power sector, the report gave a thumbs up to Delhi when it came to smart metering and energy efficiency. But, when it comes to coverage of electrical connections and power cuts, the survey said Delhi still had a lot to catch up.

Though there are areas that call for improvement, not everything looks bad for Delhi. The expansion of Delhi Metro has helped the city perform well in the area of ‘geographical coverage of public transport’.

Gurugram ranks 88

Gurugram ranked 88 out of 111 cities surveyed across India, indicating a generally poor quality of living for city residents.

Gurugram is the lowest ranked city in the National Capital Region (NCR), behind Faridabad, which is ranked at 82. Ghaziabad has the highest ease of living among NCR cities, according to the report, and is ranked at 46. New Delhi comes in somewhere in the middle at 65.

Data obtained from the report shows that Gurugram has performed well in certain respects such as access to public open spaces (2), reduced pollution ( 7) and housing and inclusiveness (13). However, the city fared among the bottom rankers in terms of health care (100), governance (97) and power supply (94), indicating deficiencies in the quality and delivery of these services.

“The Livability Index revealed today validates what we have known for long; that livability in Gurugram is very poor,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, an integrated transport and road safety expert based in Gurugram.

Bhatt also commented on Gurugram’s poor ranking (69) in the transportation and mobility category.

“While the city has focused on creating flyovers and underpasses, it has failed to deliver on basics such as foothpaths and public transport,” Bhatt said.

First Published: Aug 14, 2018 02:49 IST