NEW DELHI: The environment department is likely to get a new push after the reshuffle of the Delhi Cabinet where transport minister Kailash Gahlot got the environment. According to the sources, the department will now closely work with transport department as the Delhi government has already launched various projects like draft Electric Vehicle policy for Delhi.The officials said that now the department is likely to give priority to combating the vehicular pollution. “The transport department is working on various policies to curb vehicular pollution. The city pollution is mostly vehicular, therefore the electric vehicle policy will help the city. We want to make plans where the transport and environment department will work together because that will strengthen the fight against pollution,” said a senior official. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderTill now, the Delhi government took various steps to protect the environment like plantation drive, making more monitoring machine, anti-smog gun and many more. “Till now most of the plans have been effective but combining transport policies with the environmental policies would be more effective and long lasting,” said an official. Meanwhile, the Delhi government has targeted to have every fourth of the vehicles registered annually –public and private –to be electric by 2024 as it seeks to curb vehicular pollution in one of world’s most polluted cities. This is part of Delhi’s soon-to-be-announced electric vehicle (EV) policy, said an official familiar with the matter. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAn estimated 700,000 to 800,000 vehicles are registered in Delhi every year. Automobiles account for 40 per cent of particulate matter (PM) and close to 80 per cent of the NOx emissions, according to a study by The Energy Research Institute (TERI) last year. With its EV policy, the Delhi government aims to cut vehicular pollution by half over the next five to 10 years. Delhi released its draft EV policy in November 2018. It is set to notify the policy with amendments after the Cabinet approval in a month’s time, said the person cited above. The Delhi government has an outlay of Rs 150 crore for EVs for the current year. Among other things, the policy will adopt the so-called “technology-agnostic” approach for EV charging. It means even those offering battery swapping technology will be eligible for incentive schemes. In a minor reshuffle of portfolio last week, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has been given the additional charge of Environment, Forest and Wildlife, the Delhi government. The portfolio was earlier handled by Imran Hussain, who is also the Food and Supplies Minister. “Consequent upon the allocation of the aforesaid portfolio to Kailash Gahlot, Minister, the portfolio of Environment, Forest and Wild Life earlier allocated to Imran Hussain, Minister, stands withdrawn,” the notification dated July 13 read. Gahlot now heads a total of six portfolios –Administrative Reforms, Information & Technology, Law, Justice & Legislative Affairs, Transport, Revenue, and Environment, Forest and Wild Life.
Speaking at a press briefing in Geneva earlier today, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said the UN agency deeply deplored “the vicious, ruthless attacks against civilians” in and around the Nigerian town of Baga, in Borno State, where Boko Haram has reportedly been operating since 3 January.“The deliberate targeting of civilians is clearly prohibited by international law and we are very concerned at reports that there were children and elderly people among the victims,” the OHCHR spokesperson told reporters.According to the initial “shocking” accounts, she continued, were reports that girls, possibly one as young as 10, were also forced to carry out attacks at marketplaces in nearby Maidugiri, also in Borno State, and in Potiskum, in Yobe State. Ms. Shamdasani emphasized that the use of a child to detonate a bomb was “not only morally repugnant but constitutes an egregious form of child exploitation under international law.”Just last week, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported that the number of Nigerian refugees seeking safety in Chad due to the precipitating security situation had almost quadrupled over the past 10 days after attacks by Boko Haram uprooted about 7,300 Nigerians. Most of the refugees, the agency added, were forced into western Chad, where many are now staying with local communities in villages around 450 kilometres north-west of the capital, N’Djamena.Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the 3 January attack on the town of Baga alone caused 3,400 people to flee to Chad.In her briefing, Ms. Shamdasani said OHCHR urged the Nigerian Government to act swiftly to restore law and order in the area while also ensuring that security operations are conducted in line with international law and full respect for human rights.“We also urge Nigerian authorities to redouble their efforts to create conditions for an effective investigation into the incidents, with a view to establishing the facts surrounding the killings and holding the perpetrators accountable.”