Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Killer in the Neighbourhood

Prabhu, aged 32 years was the tobacco-seller who had been sitting in a kiosk at the T-point of Sector 15-II during the year 1997-2001, is no more now. He died, leaving his wife and three children behind. Then there was Balli aged 40 who used to sell fresh fruits beside Jharsa Road in Amar Colony. He was seen there in the year 2002-03, but is no more now. He also died only two years back. While Rajan was a salesman in a chemist shop opposite Jyoti Hospital, who was in his twenties only a few years from now. It is known that he is suffering from disease in a Mehrauli Hospital.

These three young fellows were in good state of health. The jobs they were involved in, required to stay long hours and they had little time to spare for the amusement. How come they were infected with lung disease at such a tender age? Serious fellows as they were, they had only their families at the back of their minds. They had two common idiosyncrasies in them. One, they were non-smokers and two, all three of them were diagnosed black lung diseases.

It's shocking to know that these unfortunate creatures died or are dying due to the dust clot surrounding their lungs called black lung disease. The disease had caused to them because of their accessibility to the huge dust piles lying on the streets of Jharsa Road. More or less, the whole of Gurgaon roads are filled up with the dust. People working on the roadside, walking on them, all are inhaling these killer dusts unknowingly and they are moving slowly towards death. Previously, this disease was only common to the workers of coal mines, but it is not unusual now in this rich city.

People migrated to Gurgaon during the1990s hoping to live a pollution-free life. That time, Delhi had earned a bad name to its credit for being the worst polluted city. The then visiting Cricket Australia team had commented that Delhi was at its worst level of pollution. Truly, many people in Delhi suffered from diseases like burning sensation in the chest and eyes, throat constriction, acute asthma and pneumonia caused due to the high contents of sulphur present in the air. Many people started looking for new destinations, and finally they moved and settled in Gurgaon.

May be Gurgaon had much less harmful elements in its air, but the migrated people did realise sooner that it's not a place where they could stroll happily. Piles of dust lied beside the roads. They put their hankies on their nose, believing that those dusts could be due to the construction of a new city. Fifteen years have passed. The killer dusts still occupy the most of the roads. To add to the injury, the running of ugly looking autos of Gurgaon on every road has made uninterrupted flow of these dust. The pedestrians curse and foulmouth the rowdy drivers and their filthy autos. No city in the world is as dusty as our beloved Millenium City. Scores of malls, few green parks do not make a city. It is the roads, its alleys, passages, highways, people, their behaviour, cleanliness, markets make a city liveable.

If the authorities, the NGOs and the residents keep their eyes away from this scattered clouds of dust, the day is not ahead when people would call this cyber city, the Gurgaon, a Dhoolgaon. Till any remedy is found in removing the killer dust from our neibourhood, people like Prabhu, Balli and Rajan would keep dying.

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