Driven to death

Published: Wednesday 31 January 2001

the Delhi government's drive to shut down polluting factories took another tragic turn on January 6, 2001 when a 35-year-old man killed himself when officials came to seal his factory. Pawan Kumar's death brought angry and frustrated factory owners and workers out on the streets, forcing officials to stop the sealing process immediately. Pawan Kumar used his pistol to shoot himself in the head. "The only reason why Pawan shot himself was because of the sealing operations," said Anil Vashisht, a resident of Shahdara. But, government officials claim that the suicide is not related to the closure drive. "The court is concerned about people who die of pollution but it should also be concerned about workers who will die because of the closure," says Vinay Bansal, president, Factory Owners' Association, Shahdara, Delhi.

However, what is not being said is that for four years, successive Delhi governments took no steps to relocate the polluting units. The present drive to seal these polluting units is due to the Supreme Court's show cause notice to the chief secretary of Delhi on November 14, 2000 that forced the government to take action.

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