Manali: In what can be termed as bizzare, Delhi resident Raj Malhotra (28) who was on a trip to Manali to enjoy the first snow of the season, fell ill, reportedly because of breathing fresh and clean air.
He is undergoing treatment here in Manali and is feeling better now. Raj’s wife Simran (26), visibly agitated because of travel plans having gone haywire, told Faking News correspondent, “As we started moving away from Delhi, he started coughing incessantly. It increased considerably when we reached Manali. He also started complaining of breathlessness. We initially felt, it may be due to the cold weather but as it got worse we met a local doctor.”
Our correspondent spoke to Dr. Chatur who is treating Raj who explained to us how he serendipitously discovered the real reason of Raj’s ailment. “I too thought that it was common cold and cough, but the signs were suggesting something different and serious. It was a baffling us when all of a sudden Raj walked closer to the fireplace and he suddenly felt better. Initially we felt it may be because of the warmth of fire but that possibility was ruled out as the room was already sufficiently warm because of the room heater. That made me look at another possibility; that the high concentration of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the smoke may have given his lungs an impression of Delhi air. To test the hypothesis, I blew some dust around him so that levels of suspended particulate matter (SPM) also resemble those of Delhi. Much to our delight, he stopped coughing almost instantaneously,” an elated Dr. Chatur said.
Reacting to the developments, the tourism ministry of Himachal Pradesh government issued a press release which said, “We have taken note of the incident and in keeping with our philosophy of “Atithi Devo Bhava“, will be doing all we can to make our guests from Delhi comfortable here in HP”. A senior official from the tourism ministry spoke to our correspondent over telephone.
Elaborating further he said, “The ministry plans to create special areas called ‘Delhi zones’ in all tourism hotspots of HP namely Kullu, Manali, Shimla, Solan valley etc, wherein some fifty odd diesel engine vehicles will be permanently stationed, turned on and kept on neutral gear, so that they keep billowing smoke. The idea is to create localized zones of pollution to simulate Delhi environment. This way, we will be better equipped to deal with emergency cases like Raj’s, just in case they happen to recur. Also perfectly healthy people who get nostalgic will be able to experience ‘Delhi away from Delhi’ in these Delhi zones.”
Meanwhile, politicians and environmentalists in Delhi have hailed the HP government for its initiative. Noted environmentalist Vinita Narainan said, “With all plans proposed by the Delhi government, Central government and courts (odd-even vehicles plan, ban on new registrations of diesel vehicles, ban on old trucks entering MCD limits etc) meeting with pessimism, criticism, cynicism and resistance, a quick solution to Delhi’s pollution woes remains elusive. In such a scenario, as a temporary provision, it would be a good idea to pollute other places equally, so that, at least people moving in and out of Delhi will not have health problems due to sudden change in quality of air.”
Minutes before going to press, the finance ministry of HP government confirmed to us that it had approved the tourism ministry’s plans and had allocated funds for its implementation.