The first requirement to decongest Delhi is to draw a roadmap on how to decelerate Delhi’s population growth.

And it cannot be something like what China did while restructuring and developing Shanghai and Beijing, forcefully evicting people out of city precincts.

Delhi is magnate for people from across India because it gives best hopes to people to earn their livelihood when we compare the employment generation capacity of all the metros in India.

And that has been the major reason behind Delhi’s rapid population growth. In fact, if we see the population growth in Delhi without the migrants inflow, it comes out to be lower than the national average.

And they are most welcome. It is their Constitutional birthright to settle anywhere in India that supports their life.

So, what are the options that Delhi can adopt to decelerate population growth here.

The answer, though innovative in the Indian context, is nothing extraordinary. What policymakers need here is the vision to follow the roadmaps being followed with persistence (and patience).

Jing-Jin-Ji or Putrajaya are what India needs to look up to – in terms of what China is doing to decongest Beijing or Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur.

Jingjinji or Jing-Jin-Ji is a planned vision of China where it intends to establish a Megalopolis. China is working to develop Jing-Jin-Ji as an urban complex of superb economic growth.

But the underlying reason behind it is decongesting Beijing.

Jing-Jin-Ji, China’s National Capital Region, is going to be the answer of China’s Beijing woes – an environment nightmare. Beijing, like Delhi, is one of the most polluted cities. In fact, its notoriety precedes Delhi. Emergency alerts on extreme pollution levels have been a common feature of the city.

To tackle it, China is working on a multi-pronged strategy – developing areas in Beijing region to house industries and people – and shifting government offices out of Beijing. In fact, the municipal government of Beijing, that employs thousands of employees, is being shifted to a satellite town.

There will be infrastructure in place for industries and people to relocate, not far away from Beijing, developing the region as a whole. Once this starts happening, it will reduce population and thus the vehicular burden on Beijing.

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©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Like it is happening elsewhere, in hubs of intense economic, and thus social activities, around the world, should it not happen in India, in Delhi?

Experiments like odd-even scheme of traffic rotation or phasing out diesel taxis or putting on hold registration of diesel vehicles, are these really going to work for a city of 1.85 crore people (18.5 million) and some 9 million vehicles?

Can these short-term temporary measures work for a city that attracts some 1000 migrants daily to the city from different parts of India?

Delhi is in a mess. Years of unplanned growth has led to this – that the Indian national capital is now the most the polluted megacity on Earth.

Unplanned growth, because our policymakers never considered what should be the limit to the city’s spread – in terms of its human habitations.

Now, even the geographical extremes of the city are real estate goldmine, with hungry prospectors looking to snatch that last piece of land he or she could have.

When, ideally, for a better quality of life, and for a world class city, our policymakers should have cared for its open spaces.

And a robust public transportation system was the first need.

Well, we all know how pathetic Delhi’s public transportation is.

And its failure led to massive increase in number of private vehicles in Delhi – multiples times of any other city.

These vehicles are now a major contributor in choking Delhi’s air – along with the other major culprit, the construction boom – that is again related to the mindless growth Delhi has seen.

Reducing number of vehicles on roads drastically, as the odd-even scheme intends to do or not allowing further real estate projects or banning diesel taxis or shutting thermal power plants are not going to help until our policymakers come with something practical, that is innovative as well – at least in the Indian context.

Delhi needs to think, talk and act sense on it.

And here Delhi means our policymakers.

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©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


I miss it or I don’t miss it – it doesn’t matter. What matters is – that it is for larger good – and so should be appreciated and accepted wholeheartedly.

It is the first initiative taken by the almost one year old Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi – a government that has been a sheer letdown since its inaugural in February 2014 – a step that can be said genuine and with vision – even if with glitches.

What applies to the logic of India’s stand at COP21 and other world environment summits applies to this step as well – that irrespective of ‘who, what and where’, we all are going to be the victims – be it the ruling class or the voting class in this largest democracy of the world – that, though falters regularly, is robustly functional – and is the on the way to become a mature democracy experiments like AAP tell.

A mature democracy – and we can say we have behaved in a matured manner by accepting what the city state government had proposed – leaving our vehicles on alternate days and using public transportation or practices like car-pooling or bike-riding.

Now, whenever (if) global warming happens, it would affect all countries, especially geographically big countries like India irrespective of the fact that it is basically the developed countries including the US who are the chief culprits in bringing us to this crisis situation.

And the same logic applies here as well. If pollution is affecting lives of people here, it will never discriminate in choosing its victims. Pollution will be ruthlessly objective, secular, impartial, unbiased, and whatever not when it comes to reducing life spans.

The odd-even traffic rotation scheme introduced in Delhi is a much needed (and delayed) effort to make Delhi’s (and NCR’s) air liveable again.

Yes, NCR’s – and it cannot succeed unless any plan to curb pollution in Delhi is extended effectively to its NCR areas – Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Faridabad and so on. Delhi cannot prevent the foul air with vehicular pollution and construction dust of NCR mixing with breeze flowing in Delhi colonies.

And Delhi cannot achieve this onerous task if its government (the AAP government) continues behaving erratically – with a good initiative – like exempting multitudes of vehicles with this or that excuse – an extension of the VIP culture that has percolated deep in our lives.

If pollution is ruthlessly objective in choosing its victims, we need to be ruthlessly objective in opting for the ways to deny it those fangs.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –