The smog in Gurgaon is so thick that Robert Vadra grabbed his own land. This message has been doing the rounds in WhatsApp since yesterday. In fact I couldn’t forward this message to any group because it was there in all. Which shows that the problem is as serious as made out by the news channels. But the news channels have been focused on the pollution/visibility data & the actions taken by the government. And speaking to those who have been affected by the government actions. But there have been many other incidents that point to the severity of the situation, though missed out by the mainstream media.
In one smog-related incident two vehicles collided in Gurgaon. As per tradition, the drivers stopped their vehicles & got out. But due to the heavy smog, they beat up a pedestrian crossing the road who happened to be there when these gentle-men had just come out of their vehicles. You may argue that had there been no smog, the pedestrian would have been overrun by a vehicle. But road rage is a serious ailment in Delhi/NCR & we need to take it up seriously.
But it is near impossible to cure those in Delhi/NCR of their undesirable habits. There was this case yesterday (yet to be verified by the news channels) of a lady standing at the bus stop bashing up her own husband, along with a group of women, for doing to her what men in Delhi do to women standing at bus stops. We still do not know what story the man told upon reaching home but the wife was tending to his injuries. As they say, time heals all wounds.
It is no use approaching the Police during this period. Some of them have also become victims of the smog & the famed ingenuity of Delhiites. It is reported that some cops were handed bundles of Rs. 10 notes (which should have been of Rs. 100 denomination) when they went about collecting the hafta. Unfortunately, they are unable to recall the persons responsible for this. Many of these cops have now gone on medical leave. We also heard that their senior officers have now approached the government to introduce Rs. 5000 notes so that such incidents are not reported next winter onwards. As it is, the police is already understaffed for maintaining law & order in a city of this size.
Not that people in Delhi have the habit of approaching the police at the drop of a hat. They are more accustomed to taking the law in their own hands & resolving issues there and then. Like the employees of Indigo Airlines. But due to the heavy smog, the Indigo ground staff beat their own pilot who was boarding the plane. The grapevine has it that the Airlines is thinking of taking strict action against the pilot.
While airline operations have been severely hit due to smog, the humble auto rickshaws have also not been untouched. In fact, they have been twice affected. Firstly, the fall in number of commuters has reduced their income drastically. As if this was not enough, practically all auto drivers are missing turns due to the smog & taking passengers to their destinations by the shortest route. The auto rickshaw drivers’ union is in discussion with the government to increase fares during periods of smog.
Not just the locals, even those visiting Delhi from outside have been affected. Though, most of these suffered from only breathing problem & illness. But there was this group from a large state that gathered at Ramlila Maidan to demand inclusion under reserved category. There was another group from that state, adjacent to this one, who was opposing the demand for reservation by this group. But due to the smog, the leaders (of both groups) found themselves on the wrong stage & their speeches being booed rather than cheered. The minister who had come to meet the groups was so confused that he refused to address either group & hurried back. It appears that he has reported this to his colleagues & the central government is now speaking to the concerned state governments to tackle the smog problem.
But there is a positive story too. The incidents of rape have stopped completely owing to the smog. The potential rapists have stayed indoors for fear of becoming victims themselves while out on the prowl. Safety first is what they believe in. And so should you if you stay in, or are planning to visit, Delhi/NCR. Take care & stay healthy.