The diplomat told the MEA that this is an issue affecting 22 million people in the Capital and not just the diplomatic community.
New Delhi: In a major embarrassment for India, foreign diplomats in Delhi —through their representative the dean of diplomatic corps (and the Dominican Republic Ambassador) — finally told the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) that the air-pollution and smog in Delhi was affecting the operations of some of the embassies, even as the MEA told the dean that the Indian government is giving “top priority” to the matter and that “these challenges are by-products of rapid economic growth and development”. According to the diplomat’s press statement, the Indian government told him that “the conditions affecting us are historically, not unique to India alone” and that “the unusual deterioration in the quality of air is a product of multiple causes, most of which are indeed domestic, but have also been aggravated by a dust storm from a distant geography”. The Indian government also told the dean that the concerns of the diplomats were “understandable” and that “several new pro-active actions are under the consideration of the Government as we speak”.
After meeting senior MEA officials including chief of protocol Sanjay Verma, dean of diplomatic corps Frank Hans Dannenberg Castellanos — in a press statement —said, “The diplomatic community had asked me to share some of our concerns with officials of the MEA about air pollution in New Delhi, and how it is affecting the inflow of tourism from some of our countries and the daily operations of some of the Missions.” The diplomat told the MEA that this is an issue affecting 22 million people in the Capital and not just the diplomatic community, adding, “We all breathe the same air.”
Mr Castellanos, in a press statement later, said, “I have met today with chief of protocol Sanjay Verma and he has taken note of the concerns of diplomats assigned to Delhi and their families, on the current environmental conditions in our city. He said that these concerns are understandable and a challenge to all”.
The MEA’s Chief of Protocol was quoted as saying, “The unusual deterioration in the quality of air is a product of multiple causes , most of which are indeed domestic, but have also been aggravated by a dust storm from a distant geography”. According to reports, a dust-storm that raged in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had a major role to play in Delhi’s smog from November 6 to 14 and the “distant geography” alludes to this.