Kejriwal Must Resign for His Failure to Control Covid and Pollution in Delhi

Photo: Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister, Delhi
Photo: Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister, Delhi

Since the Kejriwal government is responsible for deaths in the city, ideally Kejriwal should have resigned for his failure to contain the contagion and lethal pollution in the city.

By Rakesh Raman

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is one of the most incompetent politicians in India, has failed miserably in handling the coronavirus (Covid-19) and air pollution in the national capital.

As a result of his negligence, thousands of people are dying in Delhi. Instead of controlling the virus and pollution, Kejriwal is delivering misleading messages to confuse people so that they should not blame Kejriwal’s Delhi Government for the catastrophic damage in Delhi.

According to reports, the Delhi High Court on Thursday (November 19) pulled up the Delhi Government for letting the Covid-19 situation deteriorate.

Earlier, on November 5, the Delhi High Court had expressed concern over the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the national capital and observed that the city could soon become corona capital of the country under Kejriwal’s government.

Since the judiciary in India is very weak and judges lack domain expertise in areas such as environment and healthcare, the judges only deliver some casual statements against the negligent government functionaries.

Instead of following the law and punishing Kejriwal and his officers who failed to handle the situation that is resulting in widespread disease and deaths in Delhi, the court judges only issued a casual rebuke remark that will have no effect on thick-skinned Kejriwal.

As a large number of deaths are taking place in Delhi during the ongoing coronavirus crisis because of Kejriwal’s negligence, he must be prosecuted under “IPC Section 304A: Causing death by negligence.” The law states that:

[304A. Causing death by negligence. Whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.]

Since the Kejriwal government is responsible for deaths in the city, ideally Kejriwal should have resigned for his failure to contain the contagion and lethal pollution in the city.

As he is still clinging to his chair shamelessly and people are dying because of his negligence, the court should have taken steps to terminate the Kejriwal government and send him as well as careless bureaucrats in his government to jail. But the court too has failed to enforce the law.

RECKLESS DECISIONS

Kejriwal has been telling lies about Delhi’s Covid situation which is going from bad to worse because of Kejriwal’s reckless decisions. The number of cases and deaths are increasing in Delhi because Kejriwal has been lifting the lockdown restrictions carelessly.

The recent spike has come a couple of days after the pollution levels crossed the alarming limits in Delhi, which is already the most polluted national capital in the world. Also, all other community places have been opened where crowds mingle with each other without observing social-distancing guidelines and without wearing masks.

As the Kejriwal government has been working carelessly, it also allowed long-term construction work in Delhi’s cooperative group housing societies (CGHS) where millions of people live. Now, construction workers come from different places to work in housing societies which have become major coronavirus hotspots in the city.

While the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) – which is one of the most corrupt government organizations in India – is allowing illegal construction in housing societies, many residents are dying with coronavirus and dust pollution.

Actually, Anil Baijal – who is the Lt. Governor (LG) of Delhi and chairman of DDA – should have checked bureaucratic corruption at DDA to stop illegal construction in housing societies. But he is too old and obsolete to take any remedial action. Baijal – like Kejriwal – is sitting like a parasite in his office while people of Delhi are dying.

Another Delhi Government department – Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) – which is responsible to regulate the working of cooperative group housing societies (CGHS) should have stopped illegal construction, pollution, and coronavirus in housing societies.

However, most RCS officials are bribed by the corrupt management committees (MCs) of housing societies to carry out criminal activities in these group housing complexes.

The RCS officials are so corrupt that they ignore residents’ complaints and are still asking complainants to meet them in the RCS office so that they can take bribes from residents while coronavirus is spreading across the city.

While the Kejriwal government is encouraging corruption, it never directs RCS officials to accept online complaints and handle cases virtually through digital interfaces.

FAKE COVID DATA

Although the understated coronavirus data being released by the Delhi Government cannot be trusted, Delhi recorded more than 500,000 cases of coronavirus as of November 20.

Although with wrong data reporting, Delhi is at No. 7 in the list of worst-affected Indian states, the national capital has the most number of infections as percentage of population. As of today (November 20), Maharashtra with a population of 120 million (12 crore) has 1.7 million Covid cases to appear at the top of the list.

But Delhi with an official population of just 20 million (2 crore) has over 500,000 cases. In other words, 1.45% people in Maharashtra are infected. But even with under-reported data, the Covid devastation is maximum in Delhi with 2.5% people infected.

The situation is, in fact, worse in Delhi, as the details of the second serological survey or sero survey released in August confirmed that nearly one-third of Delhi’s 20 million population or nearly 60 lakh (6 million) people have been exposed to Covid-19.

According to a research report “Silent exodus from Delhi,” a mass exodus from New Delhi is under way because coronavirus deaths are increasing rapidly in the city.

The Frontline report reveals that the first wave of migrants who left for their homes on foot were daily wagers who did not belong to the city. But the current wave of reverse migration includes families that had lived in Delhi for decades.

According to the report, these outgoing residents survived the lockdown in Delhi and hoped that the situation would improve soon. But as the number of positive cases increased in Delhi, no one was willing to believe the government’s claim on the situation being under control any more.

POLLUTION EXACERBATES CORONAVIRUS

As dust and air pollution levels rise sharply in Delhi during the winter season every year, it becomes difficult to breathe for residents during the October-February period. Research shows that pollutants have an inflammatory effect on the lungs and so does Covid-19.

In this context, a new study reveals a correlation between exposure to air pollution and Covid-19 mortality. It says that a small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in coronavirus (Covid-19) death rate, with the magnitude of increase 20 times that observed for PM2.5 and all-cause mortality.

The study – done by the researchers of the Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA – underscores the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations to protect human health both during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

The study found that an increase of only 1 μg/m3 in PM2.5 is associated with a 15% increase in the Covid-19 death rate. It adds that the majority of the pre-existing conditions that increase the risk of death for Covid-19 are the same diseases that are affected by long-term exposure to air pollution.

As a result, the doctors in Delhi have to test all those patients for Covid-19 who have respiratory issues. The pollution in Delhi was controlled during the lockdown period. But Kejriwal – who is a pathological liar – lifted lockdown restrictions recklessly and downplayed the effect of coronavirus.

After the pollution outbreak in October, Kejriwal is again issuing misleading statements to understate the effects of pollution on the increasing number of Covid cases in the city.

Since Kejriwal is an incompetent politician, he has completely failed to enforce laws that are required to contain the Covid contagion and control air pollution. Moreover, it is believed that Kejriwal government is opening the commercial establishments desperately amid the pandemic because in the opened economy there are more opportunities of corruption for Delhi bureaucrats and politicians in his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

While Kejriwal has no interest in containing pollution or coronavirus and the healthcare system has completely collapsed, the disease will spread rapidly and many more people are expected to die in Delhi.

Under these circumstances, Kejriwal must take moral responsibility for thousands of deaths in the city and resign from his position. Will he?

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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