Fresh Air A Luxury In  Tagore’s Land: Kolkata Surpasses Delhi To Become The Most Polluted Metro In IndiaBlack fumes smoke from a bus in Kolkata (Photo Credit: DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)

In the last 72 hours the cards have turned as Kolkata’s air quality index (AQI) has become worse than Delhi’s, making it the most polluted metro city in the country, as reported by TOI.

A comparison made between the readings at two stations in Kolkata, Rabindra Bharati University and Victoria Memorial Hall with that of Ashok Vihar, one of the worst polluted zones in Delhi, showed that Kolkata is more polluted as its AQI has been consistently higher than that of Delhi.

There are 19 automatic stations in Delhi to monitor the city’s air quality as compared to only two in Kolkata.

With the number of vehicles in Kolkata being barely a fourth of Delhi, the index seems baffling. Environmentalists explain that pro-activeness on the part of Delhi to improve the air quality and apathy in Kolkata may have led to this situation.

Auto emission expert Somendra Mohan Ghosh said, “While Delhi has gone ahead with odd-even experiment, Kolkata has chosen to sit tight and ignore the issue. Worse, it has over the years turned into a diesel vehicle capital with more vehicles running on the fuel that is more harmful than petrol.”

State-owned transport operator, CTC was the first PSU in the country to adopt biodiesel experiment for its bus fleet. But for unknown reasons, it stopped using the greener fuel. The non-availability of cleaner fuel in Kolkata is the prime reason why the city has turned from bad to worse. Delhi’s public transport runs on CNG while 70 per cent of vehicles in Kolkata run on diesel, causing a huge difference.

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