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New Delhi: Taking  serious note of the life threatening high pollution in Delhi-NCR, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has observed that it is apparent that the authorities concerned have not taken proper steps throughout the year to tackle this hazard, which is amounting to violation of the Right to Life and Health of the residents in the region.

In its suo motu cognizance of several media reports in this regard, the Commission has sought reports within two weeks from the different Union Ministries and State Governments of Punjab and Haryana about the effective steps taken and proposed to be taken by them to tackle the situation, according to an NHRC release. Notices have been issued to the Secretaries of Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Highways and Road Transport along with the Chief Secretaries of the Governments of NCT of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.

The Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is expected to give details about the preparedness of the government hospitals and other agencies to attend to the people affected by pollution and steps taken to create awareness among the public at large.

The Commission is of the opinion that there is an immediate need for effective action to be taken by the Union and the State agencies. Proper implementation of the environmental laws is necessary. The state can’t leave its citizens to die due to the toxic haze. There is a need for an effective study by the experts and proper implementation of their recommendations including short term and long term measures identified. There is also a need for preventive medical check-ups for the people.

It has observed that almost every newspaper and TV channel has been running stories on the subject. The toxic smog in the atmosphere of the city has become an annual health hazard particularly at the time when the winters are about to start. Several reasons have been mentioned including pollution caused by the vehicles particularly trucks and heavy vehicles running on diesel, dust participles due to construction work going in and around Delhi-NCR region, burning of stubble by the farmers in the States of Punjab and Haryana including the “calm wind condition” and high humidity, which are beyond human control, according to NHRC release.

The smog is reportedly a deadly mix of crop-burning pollutants coming from the State of Punjab and Haryana and the moisture entering the region from the State of Uttar Pradesh. The Ghaziabad and Noida are the worst affected locations in the National Capital Region. As per reports, the air quality index has dangerously crossed the 448 points which is very alarming.  The Government of NCT of Delhi have ordered all the schools in the city to remain closed till November 12, 2017, following a warning issued by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on November 7, 2017, to the authorities. Some instruments have recorded Air Quality Index (AQI) maximum of 999 at some places.

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