Like the previous two waves of coronavirus, the third one will end soon in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday as he urged Delhiites to make wearing mask a movement to arrest the spread of COVID-19 amid festive season and rising air pollution. After inaugurating a PWD project to strengthen Rohtak Road in Mundka, he urged people to properly wear face masks as it’s the best protection against COVID-19.
“Till there is a vaccine for corona, consider face masks as the vaccine. These are the biggest protection against COVID-19 infection. We need to promote wearing face masks as a movement,” he said. Delhi is currently facing the third wave. In the first phase, the highest number of COVID-19 cases were reported and Delhiites helped bringing down the numbers. Again on September 17, there was a second surge, he said.
“In this third wave, I’m extremely hopeful that Delhiites will continue to provide their support as always and it will come to an end soon,” he said. Citing the arrival of 32,000 Indians from virus-hit countries in March as well people coming from different parts of the country, he noted that Delhi faced a tough situation.
“Delhi did not start at zero in terms of the number of Covid cases, Delhi started at thousands owing to the lack of aggressive testing of people who flew in through international flights,” the chief minister said. On the issue of air pollution, he said air quality in Delhi remains good from January till mid-October but worsens afterwards due to stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Delhi has provided an alternative in the form of a chemical developed by the Pusa Institute that converts stubble into manure. Next year there should not be any excuse by Punjab, Haryana and UP and stubble burning should stop, he said. If needed, the Delhi government or Pusa Institute may give the chemical (bio-decomposer) to the states where stubble is burnt, he said.
PWD Minister Satyendar Jain said strengthening of the 13.33-km stretch of Rohtak Road from Jakhira to Delhi Border is scheduled to finish in six months but he would ensure that efforts are made to wrap it up in four months instead. The chief minister said that the Delhi government has previously also completed various projects well before time and at a lesser cost, and the time and cost-saving model will be replicated in this project as well.
The total cost of the redevelopment project is Rs 25 crore, and it will be carried out with the use of the latest cold-milling technology, in which the upper layer of the road will be recycled and reused, said a PWD engineer. The road was first constructed in 2011 and was to be redeveloped in 2016.
However, the project has now been taken up by the Delhi government from the Centre due to no sanction of funds by the National Highways Authority, said a government statement.