Delhi Lt. Governor V.K. Saxena has sent the file pertaining to 'Red Light On Gaddi Off' campaign to the Chief Minister with advise to reconsider the proposal in light of observations made by him (LG) on the file and resubmit again.
Underlining the use of Civil Defence Volunteers (CDVs) at extremely polluted traffic intersections and sites, the LG has highlighted that "the basic premise of the campaign which seeks to risk the health of 'few individuals' 'on the assumption' of protecting the 'health of many' is faulty and does not appear to have any parallel in any other civilized metropolitan city."
"Moreover, any effective and sustainable solution to this longstanding problem will involve technological interventions and not ad hoc steps, year after year and in the long run technological solutions need to be found for enforcement of such measures, rather than deploying humans and putting them at risk," he observed.
"It is well documented that though air pollution threatens us all, the poor and marginalized sections of the society bear greater and disproportionate impact of the pollution, often created by those who are well off. The deployment of volunteers under the proposed campaign seems to reinforce and perpetuate the same inequality, which is unfortunate and in contravention of the basic right to life and equality," the LG noted.
"Outcome of the previous campaigns is not reflected in the proposal and there is no impact assessment report provided to support the effectiveness of the earlier campaigns in improving air quality in the city. Also, the multiple risks posed to the safety and health of the volunteers proposed to be deployed at the traffic cross sections under the campaign, merits serious attention," the LG observed.
He opined "The people of Delhi who suffer the most due to air pollution, are aware and alert citizens who are conscious of their duties and will undertake any measure on their own, to mitigate such pollution."
Underlining the legal tenability of the proposal to allow the engagement of volunteers for the proposed campaign, the LG has instructed to examine it in consultation with the Law Department and Revenue Department.
He also noted "The proposal was pending at the level of Hon'ble CM for more than 10 days from October 11 to October 21 and the file was received in my office only on October 21."
Reacting to Delhi Minister Gopal Rai's statement that LG should not do politics with the lives of people in Delhi, the LG said, "I am constrained to mention that such frivolous behaviour entailing baseless allegations, false accusations and political insinuations, on part of a minister is unbecoming to say the least. That it was done against a Constitutional Authority, solely for political one-upmanship and publicity is extremely improper and unfortunate. This type of publicity must be avoided and the Hon'ble Minister should be advised to be cautious in such issues of public importance."
Advising CM and his ministers to refrain from such antics, the LG noted, "As pointed out in another proposal, such acts on part of Hon'ble Chief Minister and Hon'ble Ministers, of publicizing issues prematurely and making political allegations even before the matter is submitted to me or while it is under my consideration, violates the basic principles of governance and at the same time restricts/obstructs my constitutional right of formulating an independent opinion on the subject. It is once again advised to refrain from such acts in larger public interest and for ensuring harmonious and constitutional functioning of the system of governance."