Even as Delhi stifles, Modi, ministers to get clean air
A total of 140 air purifiers were purchased for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office and at least six other government departments between 2014 and 2017, even as Delhi's common masses continue to reel under the rising pollution levels. The government spent Rs. 30.6 lakh, or about $55,000, for buying the machines, as was revealed by previously unpublished government data.
"This initiative is like giving gumboots to city officials when the drainage system collapses and the city is covered in muck," said Oommen C. Kurian, health researcher, Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation. This purchase comes even as Modi and his government is being criticized for not doing enough for curbing the pollution levels. None of the departments, including the PMO, replied to any query.
Delhi's struggle with air pollution is increasing by the day. During Diwali in November 2017, air quality levels plunged so drastically that the IMA had to declare a public health emergency. Last year, the level of airborne particulate matter reached 2.5, much higher than the level of "hazardous." A Greenpeace report found Delhi scored alarmingly high in terms of deaths due to air-pollution-related causes.
After a study, IIT-Kanpur had concluded that particulate pollution was the main cause of Delhi pollution. CM Arvind Kejriwal, who called Delhi a 'gas chamber', announced in February that they are getting ready to commission a project to University of Washington to conduct a study on pollution. If the situation remains unchanged, get ready to shell out Rs. 10,000 for an air purifier.