A shepherd boy used to take his herd of sheep across the fields to the garden near the forest. Although his job demanded fetched him enough money and he got to roam around listlessly, he felt extremely bored sometimes. He wanted to grab some attention and have fun. So, out of boredom and mischief, he would yell out aloud “Wolf, Wolf. Help me. Look the wolf is carrying a lamb away”. At his call, the villagers working in the fields would get alarmed and come running only to find out that the young shepherd had pulled a dirty trick on them and was now guffawing ceaselessly.
The shepherd boy played the trick for many times for the next few days, conning a fresh set of villagers every time. Soon all the villagers got to know about his mischief and stopped paying attention to his false cries.
One day a wolf actually appeared out of the bushes and pounced upon the shepherd’s flock. He cried out for help with all the strength in his lungs, no one came. The villagers disregarded his calls as yet another false alarm. The Wolf killed several of his sheep.
Of course this is an old story but what if I were to find out the attention seeking shepherd boy among Indian Politicians? There will be many candidates for the shepherd boy’s role but the Chief Minister of Delhi beats the competition by a huge margin. Arvind Kejriwal is the eternal attention seeker of Indian Politics.
These are times when people of Delhi are struggling to breathe. Kejriwal led Delhi government previously expressed its inability to fight air pollution due to ‘lack of funds’ and blaming other state governments for not cooperating with his administration, an RTI query reveals that the Aam Aadmi Party government has been sitting on environment funds.
In a shocking RTI disclosure on Wednesday, it was revealed that Kejriwal led Delhi government has failed to specify its utilisation of the Rs 787 crore Green Cess collected during 2017.
“The Delhi government – in the RTI reply to Sanjeev Jain, a Right To Information activist — said it received Rs 50 crore in 2015, Rs 387 crore in 2016 and Rs 787 crore as environment cess from January 01 to September 30 in 2017. Arvind Kejriwal government said it has spent Rs 93 lakh of the environment cess in 2016, but there was “no mention of any expenditure” in 2017.” quotes Times Now.
Back in 2015, the Supreme Court imposed The Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) on trucks entering Delhi. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) levies 1% Cess on dealers selling diesel cars with engine capacity of 2000cc and above in the Delhi-NCR region following a directive of the Supreme Court in August last year. Apart from this, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) maintains a corpus, known as ‘Air Ambience Fund’, which is amassed to stand at around Rs 500 crore currently – Usman Nasim, a researcher with the Centre For Science and Environment (CSE) claims.
Unsurprisingly, the Aam Aadmi Party went on to pass the buck to Modi government for blocking projects to control pollution. AAP spokesperson claimed that the government wanted to purchase buses, but the central government did not allot land for the bus depot. On the other hand, a report from Hindustan Times states that there has been an unmistakable absence of criticalness from the administration’s side to push the land-owning office, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), to get the space apportioned and it was just on Monday – after the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) and the NGT rapped the government – that state transport minister Kailash Gahlot wrote to DDA, seeking 135 acres of land.
Presently, it is informed that the Cabinet has now chosen to bring 2,000 more buses however that would take no less than six more months. Indeed, even from that point onward, a shortage of around 3,600 transport buses would, in any case, remain.
Meanwhile, it should not be left out that this time the National Green Tribunal (NGT) objected to Delhi government’s visionary odd-even scheme because the government had neither the infrastructure nor the logical explanations for its proposals, while they had a complete year to prepare for it.
Although Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal took up the matter again and met Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, this is something he should have done during summers and should have escalated it with the Union environment minister – which is exactly what he is doing now. But now it has merely turned into ’smog politics’ and thus the whole episode puts a big question mark on Kejriwal’s intentions.
An Environmental Catastrophe is the wolf here, it is lurking in the bushes but hasn’t yet pounced on the flock. The Farmers in the nearby fields are CMs of other states and the Union Government. Citizens of Delhi are the sheep. But given the frequent and unnecessary yelling of shepherd boy of Indian Politics, soon no one will come to his rescue. Remember when the wolf attacks, it is the sheep that are killed.