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Concern in Rajya Sabha over rising air pollution in Delhi


                                                                                                    The Times of India, New Delhi, 11th March, 2015


 NEW DELHI: Serious concern was raised today in Rajya Sabha over the rising air pollution in Delhi, with a Congress member saying that many countries have reduced the tenure of their diplomats here due to the problem.


Observing that the National Capital Region was one of the most polluted, Sanjay Singh (Congress) quoted a report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to say that Delhi was the topmost among 16 most polluted cities in the country.


The air in Delhi had the maximum amount of chemicals like nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, benzene and carbon monoxide, he said while raising the issue during Zero Hour.


Delhi records the maximum particulate matter in the air with 163 microgram cubic per meter (MGCM), as against 154 in Kolkata, 137 each in Mumbai and Hyderabad and 84 in Chennai, while ideally it should be 60 MGCM, the Congress member said.


Maintaining that the CPCB data "rings an alarm bell" for Delhi, Singh said a number of countries have issued guidelines for their diplomats living in Delhi on how they can protect themselves from it.


"So much so that US, Germany and Japan have even reduced the tenure of their diplomats in Delhi from three years to two years. Many embassies have installed air purifiers in their offices and residences of their diplomats to monitor air quality.


"This is a dangerous situation and if action was not taken in time, it could turn worse," Singh said.


Raising another issue, Nadimul Haque (Trinamool Congress) expressed concern over the government's plan to "reduce" the number of One Stop Rape Crisis Centres for Women and cut budgetary allotment for them.


He claimed that the government has decided to reduce the number of these centres, the establishment of which was recommended by the Justice Verma Commission following the December 16 gangrape case.


Accusing the government of "backing out" on its promise, he said "the government has reduced the budget allotment for these crisis centres from around Rs 245 crore to just Rs 18 crore and decided for setting only 36 such centers despite promise to have 660 of them."