The air quality in Faridabad since Wednesday, October 24th has been very poor according to the National Air Quality Index which means it can cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.
While the situation has been similar across the entire Delhi-NCR, it has been worst in Faridabad which was recently announced as the second most polluted city in the world.
The most populous city in the state of Haryana with close to 1.5 million (15 lakh) residents is also a major industrial hub of Haryana. The interesting fact is that the environment minister of Haryana, Vipul Goel (who is also the industries and commerce minister) is sitting MLA from the Faridabad constituency.
In light of recent air pollution stats which are 'very poor', the Indian National Congress's Haryana spokesperson, Vikas Chaudhary launched a scathing attack on Vipul Goel calling him a showman and juggler (Madari) not doing enough for the well being of city's residents.
A close aide of Haryana Congress's president, Ashok Tanwar, Vikas Chaudhary called for a press conference and claimed that the city's doctors are witnessing a surge in long queues with patients suffering from respiratory and skin related diseases due to the terrible air pollution. He said that the current government is playing with the health of citizens and not doing enough to curb air pollution. He also pulled in Eco Green company which is a private firm recently deployed in the city to manage the garbage. He claimed that the company is charging the residents illegally and throwing the garbage on roads and in the open grounds rather than the treatment plants as per their contracts with the government.
Perhaps for the first time, it is a valid and meaningful political issue that the Congress party seems to have found in the political battleground ready for elections in the next year. While it is yet to be seen how the minister and the government respond to the allegations put by the Congress party, one thing is clear that the political parties must have tangible steps to tackle air pollution in their agendas.