Health Hazard Toxic Fumes Obnoxious Smell

        2011, August 9, 10 or 11: A smell is felt in our residential premises. Upon inspecting the surroundings, it becomes clear that it is coming from outside. It is on the terrace also. Upon further inspection of the area outside the house and from the terrace, it seems to emanate from the chimney protruding from the shaft on the terrace of flats 84-85 of Block C2B. C2B Block comprises of G+2 DDA MIG flats with a terrace on 3rd floor level. Upon inspection of the ground floors towards the rear and front, it becomes evident that the smell is emanating from the restaurant Soya Express, operating from flat 84-A. The same smell is found in the staircase side of the flat. The smell and fumes travel up the chimney which is inside of the shaft and they are released from above the terrace. The smell is obnoxious, the fumes are a health hazard.

        The fumes and smell persist on the 12th, 13th, 14th and onwards.

        On 14th or 15th August, I speak about this with the President of the Block Residents Welfare Association. He tells me that they have done whatever they had to do and they can’t do anything more. He tells me also that I can’t do anything about it. He then starts narrating me his problems of the Block. I go back disappointed and wonder what he meant by what he said about not being able to do anything else. I spoke for the first time only.



        The smells were of varying types. Details are in the correspondence which follows later not very far below.
        These initial days I went more than once to the rear of the flat and confirmed it to myself that yes, a particular type is indeed emanating from here. And I also noticed that the rear of another restaurant (the rear facing 'Block interior') was emanating smell too which also entered our premises. This is the rear of flat 86-A and the restaurant is called Zaika. They are a non-veg. restaurant. The smell of rotten meat was noticed time and again over different days. The smell of wet dough (or something similar), something wet and stale was emanating over different days from here and that confirmed the other type of smell. Once again, the smoke and fumes from this restaurant also are expelled from the top of the flat at the 3rd floor terrace level. And both these chimneys run through the respective shafts.
        In the following days I spoke with a few people in the vicinity. They said that they have felt it too but maybe because they are not that sensitive they may not have taken it that seriously. Another said that yes, we do feel the smell but what to do. Another said that we have not really felt it since our A/C's are on. Another said that their house is quite far from the restaurants so they might not have noticed or the smell might not be of that much intensity. I have absolutely no grudge against any of our neighbours.
So there were two restaurants suddenly causing nuisance in our lives.
        Then we were in a jam - smoking these fumes everyday and not knowing what to do. I did not wish to speak with these restaurant people personally since anybody who indulges in such an act is not worth meeting. The act is illegal, whatever the MCD may say, whatever the government may say. We were also cautioned against the prospect of such people hiring goons to "take me out". I rubbished these cautions but did not meet these people because of the former.
        Now this s a DDA residential area. How the bloody hell has a restaurant been allowed to function with smoke and obnoxious fumes spewing out through their chimneys from the 3rd floor terrace. We have been staying here since 1974.


        Then I went out of Delhi for some work and came back after around a week around August 30.

        The situation was unchanged. I drafted a letter. On September the 5th, I submitted this letter of request with the Block Residents Welfare Association. It reflects some other observations also. Here goes:

The President,                                                                                                                           03/09/11
Block C2B Residents Welfare Association,
Janakpuri,
New Delhi – 58.

Re.: Toxic fumes inside of our residence from commercial restaurant kitchens.

This is to bring to your attention that since about Aug. 10, 2011, a foul smell is present in a part of the Block. This is around the internal road starting from Gate No. 2 (Main Gate) till quite some distance straight in, and also along the first road starting between flats 81 and 71 continuing along the park on the left (to this perpendicular road) and straight upto the point where this perpendicular road ends. This foul smell enters flats also, if you’ve noticed. It certainly enters our flat. It is irritating. This is or these are obviously the “exhaust fumes” from a “commercial restaurant kitchen” operating from a “residential premises”. The two restaurants which may be responsible for this are “Soya Express” and “Zaika” (any other?).
This is detrimental to our health. The fumes are a “health hazard”. It smells like an abattoir at times. At other times, smell of spices pervades the air. The air is also oily, greasy, thick and smells foul. You can also smell the fumes of burnt fuel of some kind which stays inside of homes for a long time. This is not supposed to be in a residential area. We have a ‘fundamental right’ to clean air and that is being ‘violated’. Our health is ‘slowly and silently’ being affected. The air is ‘not inhalable’. Its quality has been rendered bad. It’s toxic. We inhale gases (adulteration of fresh air).
Please take action.
Thank you.
Sandeep Vij,
Address:
 Tel.:




        One day earlier, I wrote to the Health Department, MCD. This is the text (almost similar):

Hello MCD Health Department!
This is to bring to your attention that since about Aug. 10, 2011, a foul smell is present in a part of the Block C2B, Janakpuri - 110058. This is around the internal road starting from Gate No. 2 (Main Gate) till about 100 metres straight inside, and also along the first road running perpendicular to this one right along the park on the left (to this perpendicular road) and straight upto the point where this perpendicular road turns left. This foul smell enters flats also. It is irritating. This is or these are obviously the “exhaust fumes” from a “commercial restaurant kitchen” operating from a “residential premises”. The two restaurants which may be responsible for this are “Soya Express” and “Zaika” (any other?).
This is not good for the health of the residents living around the area mentioned above and certainly not for us. The fumes are a “health hazard”. It smells like an abattoir at times. At other times, smell of spices pervades the air. The air is also oily, greasy, thick and smells foul. You can also smell the fumes of burnt fuel of some kind which stays inside of homes for a long time. This is not supposed to be in a residential area. We have a ‘fundamental right’ to clean air and that is being ‘violated’. Our health is ‘slowly and silently’ being affected. The air is ‘not inhalable’. Its quality has been rendered bad. It’s toxic. Various ailments can silently befall. We are forced to inhale gases (adulteration of fresh air). We can’t eat or dwell anywhere in the house because of the presence of these fumes. Probably, stuff from these kitchens goes to respective branches of these outlets. But that’s secondary right now.
Please take action. Hopefully, you’ll not be indifferent.

Thank you.

        On the 5th, I also wrote to the Environment Ministry, Delhi Govt. on their portal.


      Hello Environment Ministry Delhi Government!
      This is to bring to your attention that since about Aug. 10, 2011, a foul smell is present in a part of the Block C2B, Janakpuri - 110058. This is around the internal road starting from Gate No. 2 (Main Gate) till about 100 metres straight inside, and also along the first road running perpendicular to this one right along the park on the left (to this perpendicular road) and straight upto the point where this perpendicular road turns left. This foul smell enters flats also. It is irritating. It is bad odour. This is or these are obviously the “exhaust fumes” from a “commercial restaurant kitchen” operating from a “residential premises”. The two restaurants which may be responsible for this are “Soya Express” and “Zaika” (any other?).
      This is not good for the health of the residents living around the area mentioned above and certainly not for us. The fumes are a “health hazard”. It smells like an abattoir at times. The characteristic or peculiar smell from the cooking of non-veg. food is present. At other times, smell of spices pervades the air. The air is also oily, greasy, thick and smells foul. You can also smell the fumes of burnt fuel of some kind which stays inside of homes for a long time. This is not supposed to be in a residential area. We have a ‘fundamental right’ to clean air and that is being ‘violated’. Our health is ‘slowly and silently’ being affected. The air is ‘not inhalable’. Its quality has been rendered bad. It’s toxic. Various ailments can silently befall. We are forced to inhale gases (adulteration of fresh air). We can’t eat or dwell anywhere in the house because of the presence of these fumes. It is bad odour. Probably, stuff from these kitchens goes to respective branches of these outlets. But that’s secondary right now.
      Please take action. If this does not concern your Ministry or Department under you, then kindly forward it to the concerned Ministry or Department.

      Thank you.



        And 3 days later, on September 8th, 2011, I wrote similarly to the Health Ministry.


      Hello Health Ministry Delhi Government!
      This is to bring to your attention that since about Aug. 10, 2011, a foul smell is present in a part of the Block C2B, Janakpuri - 110058. This is around the internal road starting from Gate No. 2 (Main Gate) till about 100 metres straight inside, and also along the first road running perpendicular to this one right along the park on the left (to this perpendicular road) and straight upto the point where this perpendicular road turns left. This foul smell enters flats also. It is irritating. It is bad odour. This is or these are obviously the “exhaust fumes” from a “commercial restaurant kitchen” operating from a “residential premises”. The two restaurants which may be responsible for this are “Soya Express” and “Zaika” (any other?).
      This is not good for the health of the residents living around the area mentioned above and certainly not for us. The fumes are a “health hazard”. It smells like an abattoir at times. The characteristic or peculiar smell from the cooking of non-veg. food is present. At other times, smell of spices pervades the air. The air is also oily, greasy, thick and smells foul. You can also smell the fumes of burnt fuel of some kind which stays inside of homes for a long time. This is not supposed to be in a residential area. We have a ‘fundamental right’ to clean air and that is being ‘violated’. Our health is ‘slowly and silently’ being affected. The air is ‘not inhalable’. Its quality has been rendered bad. It’s toxic. Various ailments can silently befall. We are forced to inhale gases (adulteration of fresh air). We can’t eat or dwell anywhere in the house because of the presence of these fumes. It is bad odour. Probably, stuff from these kitchens goes to respective branches of these outlets. But that’s secondary right now.
      Please take action. If this does not concern your Ministry or Department under you, then kindly forward it to the concerned Ministry or Department.

Thank you. 

        I was hoping that I would get a phone call from a Ministry soon. That didn’t happen. So I thought that I’ll ping them again, send them a reminder. In fact I also wanted to express one apprehension. On the 11th as I tried sending reminder, it was brought to my knowledge that 15 days have to elapse before one can remind. So the following piece didn’t go. It has not gone anywhere yet. It is only here.

Dear Sir / Madam,
In case you are trying to ascertain the validity of this complaint by despatching Inspectors or concerned personnel to neighbouring terraces, balconies, then please do so without informing the Restaurants themselves! In that case they may temporarily shut down or take an evasive maneuver to hoodwink.
This is being sent to you not because I doubt your efficiency and methods but because it has been some days since I lodged the complaint and OUR HEALTH IS BEING AFFECTED CONTINUOUSLY. THE SMELL IS A NUISANCE. IT IS NON LIVEABLE. THE FUMES ARE A HEALTH HAZARD.
I had also written to the Residents Welfare Association of the Block but no action has been taken yet. I had been told verbally by the Association that "we have done what we had to do". I don't know what that means.
Please help, take action.
Sincerely,
Sandeep Vij.
Tel.:


        And then on 12th - 13th night, something terrible (for a civilized society) happened. Obviously many amongst us would consider it as “nothing very unusual really”. And I was also surprised later why any of the residents of C2B Block are not talking about it when even the tehbazaaree person on the road is talking about it! That terrible incident is enumerated in the following piece which was sent to the Public Health Foundation Of India. In fact after writing to the Government, I was also looking for another organization which may put an end to the nonsense. That is how I stumbled upon PHFI. Even though I figured that they are not in this line of work (putting an end to public health related issues), I still sent them the following piece. The terrible thing is mentioned towards the bottom.

Hello Public Health Foundation Of India!
This is to bring to your attention that since about Aug. 10, 2011, a foul smell is present in a part of the Block C2B, Janakpuri - 110058. This is around the internal road starting from Gate No. 2 (Main Gate) till about 100 metres straight inside, and also along the first road running perpendicular to this one right along the park on the left (to this perpendicular road) and straight upto the point where this perpendicular road turns left. This foul smell enters flats also. It is irritating. It is bad odour. This is or these are obviously the “exhaust fumes” from a “commercial restaurant kitchen” operating from a “residential premises”. The two restaurants which may be responsible (not sure which one) for this are “Soya Express” and “Zaika” (any other?). This is not good for the health of the residents living around the area mentioned above and certainly not for us. The fumes are a “health hazard”. It smells like an abattoir at times. The characteristic or peculiar smell from the cooking of non-veg. food is present. At other times, smell of spices pervades the air. The air is also oily, greasy, thick and smells foul. You can also smell the fumes of burnt fuel of some kind which stays inside of homes for a long time. This is not supposed to be in a residential area. We have a ‘fundamental right’ to clean air and that is being ‘violated’. Our health is ‘slowly and silently’ being affected. The air is ‘not inhalable’. Its quality has been rendered bad. It’s toxic. Various ailments can silently befall. We are forced to inhale gases (adulteration of fresh air). We can’t eat or dwell anywhere in the house because of the presence of these fumes. It is bad odour. Probably, stuff from these kitchens goes to respective branches of these outlets. But that’s secondary right now.
Please take action within your ambit.
On the night of 12th September, going into 13th, for about 6 hours (11:30 P.M.to 5:30 A.M.) the fumes and smell of burning coal was present in our balcony, our terrace, and also inside of our flat. There was burning sensation in the chest and head and a slight choking in breathing, itching in eyes and it smelt like burnt coal. I couldn’t sleep at all. It was not bearable. Upon moving out of the house around 2:30 A.M. into the neighbourhood, it was found that the same smell was also emanating from the bedroom window of flat 84-A (staircase side). This is Soya Express. There was smoke inside visible from outside and upon calling out from the outside, no one responded. There was light inside.
Please take action urgently. The toxic gases can be lethal. It is almost certain that the same fumes had travelled up through the chimney and spread out from there. Such nonsense, nuisance should not, cannot be allowed to affect our living, our health, our life.
If this does not concern you at all then I request you to kindly forward it to the right authority. If you can be proactive also then I would much appreciate it. Thanks.
Sincerely,
Sandeep Vij
Janakpuri
New Delhi-58.
Tel.:


        By the way, just in case this info. Is useful for anyone, this is what the PHFI says (truncated): "..The PHFI provides tips on preventing diseases, healthy lifestyles and general well-being. Healthy India does not offer ... medical advice. To discuss your specific symptoms or condition and diagnosis, please contact your physician or health care professional."



        In fact, I also sent the following around September 13, 2011 to both the Health Ministry and the Environment Ministry, Delhi Government.


The earlier grievance number is ---/---/----/------. The followig may please be attached to it since I could not find the procedure to add on to an existing complaint.
On the night of 12th September, going into 13th, for about 6 hours (11:30 P.M.to 5:30 A.M.) the fumes and smell of burning coal was present in our balcony, our terrace, and also inside of our flat. There was burning sensation in the chest and head and a slight choking in breathing, itching in eyes and it smelt like burnt coal. I couldn’t sleep at all. It was not bearable. On physical examination around 2:30 A.M. of the surroundings, it was found that the same smell was also emanating from the bedroom window of flat 84-A (staircase side). This is Soya Express. There was smoke inside visible from outside and upon calling out from the outside, no one responded. There was light inside. This will be endorsed by the search personnel on duty.
Please take action urgently. The toxic gases can be lethal. It is almost certain that the same fumes had travelled up through the chimney and spread out from there. You cannot allow such nonsense, such nuisance to affect our living, our health, our life.

Sincerely,
Sandeep Vij,
Address:
Telephone:

        I kept on looking for some organization which could help. I had a faint hope that there must be people around who would actually be in this line of work. And to be honest, I didn’t want to involve the Police despite really suffering. On 15th September, I sent the following also to National Human Rights Commission (almost same).

Hello National Human Rights Commission Of India!
This is to bring to your attention that since about Aug. 10, 2011, a foul smell is present in a part of the Block C2B, Janakpuri - 110058. This is around the internal road starting from Gate No. 2 (Main Gate) till about 100 metres straight inside, and also along the first road running perpendicular to this one right along the park on the left (to this perpendicular road) and straight upto the point where this perpendicular road turns left. This foul smell enters flats also. It is irritating. It is bad odour. This is or these are obviously the “exhaust fumes” from a “commercial restaurant kitchen” operating from a “residential premises”. The two restaurants which may be responsible (not sure which one) for this are “Soya Express” and “Zaika” (any other?).
This is not good for the health of the residents living around the area mentioned above and certainly not for us. The fumes are a “health hazard”. It smells like an abattoir at times. The characteristic or peculiar smell from the cooking of non-veg. food is present. At other times, smell of spices pervades the air. The air is also oily, greasy, thick and smells foul. You can also smell the fumes of burnt fuel of some kind which stays inside of homes for a long time. This is not supposed to be in a residential area. We have a ‘fundamental right’ to clean air and that is being ‘violated’. Our health is ‘slowly and silently’ being affected. The air is ‘not inhalable’. Its quality has been rendered bad. It’s toxic. Various ailments can silently befall. We are forced to inhale gases (adulteration of fresh air). We can’t eat or dwell anywhere in the house because of the presence of these fumes. It is bad odour. Probably, stuff from these kitchens goes to respective branches of these outlets. But that’s secondary right now.
Please take action within your ambit.
On the night of 12th September, going into 13th, for about 6 hours (11:30 P.M.to 5:30 A.M.) the fumes and smell of burning coal was present in our balcony, our terrace, and also inside of our flat. There was burning sensation in the chest and head and a slight choking in breathing, itching in eyes and it smelt like burnt coal. I couldn’t sleep at all. It was not bearable. Upon moving out of the house around 2:30 A.M. into the neighbourhood, it was found that the same smell was also emanating from the bedroom window of flat 84-A (staircase side). This is Soya Express. There was smoke inside visible from outside and upon calling out from the outside, no one responded. There was light inside.
Please take action urgently. The toxic gases can be lethal. It is almost certain that the same fumes had travelled up through the chimney and spread out from there. Such nonsense, nuisance should not, cannot be allowed to affect our living, our health, our life.
If this does not concern you at all then I request you to kindly forward it to the right authority. If you can be proactive also then I would much appreciate it. Thanks. I have a right to life with dignity.
Sincerely,
Sandeep Vij.
Address:
Thank you.


For the benefit of visitors, this url takes you to the major initiatives of NHRC. The page also tells about its role and scope.
http://www.nhrc.nic.in/FAQ.htm#no14


        The problem persisted. On September 18th, 2011, two people came to my residence around daytime or evening and enquired about me. I was not at home. They were told so. They said that they would come the next day. When I reached home, I came to know that one elderly person from Soya Express and one young person from Zaika had come and that their conduct was ok. The next day, nobody came. And when nobody came for another two days, then as a matter of courtesy I decided to call up Soya Express. My intention was that since somebody has come home and I am not there, therefore, I should figure out about their purpose. I looked up the Block Directory and called up 25549210 and asked for Mr. Juneja (as mentioned in the Directory). I told the person that somebody had come to my home from Soya Express and since I was not there and also since the person wanted to come the next day but didn’t come, I have called up. I asked him if it was him. He said that he was the owner of the property (property kaa maalik) and that he can give me the number of the person who operates the Restaurant and who actually may have visited my house. He also mentioned on his own that he himself stays in the rear bedroom portion of the flat 84-A! And he sounded quite authoritative. He supplied the numbers 9212464315 and 9958766680 as belonging to another Mr. Juneja who is the operator. Then I called one of these numbers. Mr. Juneja the operator responded, I confirmed from him that he had come to my house. He sounded quite cordial, I can tell you. He said that “I’ll come and have tea with you”. I told him that he was most welcome. By the way, the property kaa maalik (owner of property) does not actually stay in the rear bedroom portion of 84-A. He was just fooling around, I know. I know he said that since ... (I'll tell later).
        The next day during the day, the operator Mr. Juneja came. He was quite cordial. He asked us about our problem. We told him that. He said that complaining to the MCD would not serve any purpose since all they are going to do is issue a challan (a fine). Then he told me that a challan had been issued to him. He said that he did not know that somebody like me was staying around and that he had heard my name for the first time in MCD since he had gone there for the Health Trade License and he came to know that there was a complaint. I understood later that the MCD people actually came, but not for the resolution of our problem. I also read later what they had written in their internal department remarks. That comes later. Now, I told Mr. Juneja very politely that look we have a genuine problem and that the smell from kitchen of commercial restaurant and the smell and particles of burnt coal is hazardous to our health. Surprisingly, he was not very receptive to this, though he admitted himself that yes, the problem of coal emission had been brought to his notice (by way of a complaint?) in his Lajpat Nagar outlet. He said that yes, coal is used in his restaurant regularly. He also said with folded hands that he was very poor (oh, really?) and that the Janakpuri restaurant was his 9th outlet! This was absolutely bizarre, I can tell you. And initially I did not know how to react, believe me. Now whether he is poor or not is not my concern. He made an argument on his own that if this was shut then the people working in the restaurant would lose their bread and butter. Now this is not a problem created by me, obviously he should understand this. On the issue of closing, I told him that we don’t want emissions coming inside of our house and as long the duct outlets are on the terrace, we would be affected constantly. Surprisingly, he was just not receptive to this. He told us that the MCD would not allow the outlets at any other place. He said that if he had known that I am an Architect then he would have hired me for the Interior of his outlet. I told him immediately that I would have refused. He also said in a whispering tone that if everybody in this country becomes like me, then this country would be like the United States. Obviously, I understand that these are gimmicks.
        I asked him how the MCD allowed him to place a duct from inside of the shaft. I also asked him how the MCD allowed him to operate a restaurant from inside a collective housing. These are DDA flats. On the shaft issue, he said that the MCD has allowed the placement of a duct from inside of the shaft. I doubt this actually. It may be deliberate oversight. On the restaurant issue, he said that since the road has been deemed or rendered or labelled as commercial, therefore, he can operate a restaurant from there. I told him that labelling of commercial does not imply that one can open up an eatery or restaurant indiscriminately in a residential area. This legislation has to be interpreted rightly. In any case, there is something wrong with the legislation itself.
        We were not reaching anywhere since he refused to budge at all apart from saying ‘I’ll see what I can do’. He seemed irritated at my insistence on taking off the duct from the terrace and expressed reluctance to do so. Now this is stubbornness. And I can tell everybody in the world who reads this that DDA should be held accountable since this is a breach of contract on its part. The flats were not leased with the rider that restaurants can be opened from anywhere from amongst the flats or that the flats may hold commercial establishments without a care in the world for what it does to the residents already staying for many years. Just come take a look at C2B Block, Janak Puri, Delhi. It’s becoming a bad place to live. The fact is that slowly the orderly people are moving out. The quality of people creeping inside the Block (outsiders) is petty and pathetic. As for the MCD, the Officers who allowed the shaft intrusion should be held accountable since DDA flats shafts are sacrosanct. They are meant for light and ventilation (of the attached surrounding flats, of course) and possess the bare minimum of area and volume and cannot be encroached upon by way of a tangible intrusion which minimises the clear area and volume overall. But the country is corrupt. And I admit so with great anguish. India cannot protect its own law abiding citizens from such marauding actions. With what face does it fight for human rights for others? (I think they don’t anymore).



For visitors on this page arriving from outside of Delhi and outside of India,
MCD stands for Municipal Corporation Of Delhi,
DDA stands for Delhi Development Authority.
And for visitors from everywhere, especially the miscreants and opportunists here in Delhi, I am not craving to be famous.



For the benefit of Delhiites who would like to apprise themselves of Commercial activities permissible as per draft MPD (Master Plan Delhi) 2021, the following url will give some information on the same:
http://indrealty.in/knowledgebase/Commercial-activities-in-Residential-Areas-Mixed-Use-of-Land-Draft-Master-Plan-Delhi-2021

It also mentions regulation of commercial activities but I feel it is only on paper. In any case, in this country first they let illegalities to take place, then regularise the illegality because very soon it manifests everywhere and the Frankenstein monster forcefully legalises itself. The entire world should take note of this.



        Now immediately after Mr. Juneja’s visit to our house, the attitude of the President of the Block Residents Welfare Association changed towards me. He displayed a sort of annoyance. This is not something that I will even remotely be bothered about ordinarily. I don’t know if Mr. Juneja had any clandestine meeting with him and if he said something nasty and false. That is why I mention it. I was also informed (from wherever) that he is trying to isolate me in the Block. Very funny. Very productive exercise!


        Absolutely nothing happened for the next few days. The problem persisted. I understood that this man (who came) is in all probability trying to somehow get some sort of stamp of approval from wherever or something similar, has completely ignored our concern and is only trying to gain time. I understood later that both these Restaurant owners do not possess the Health Trade License from the MCD. I don’t know whether he spoke with the other Restaurant owner/s. In the meantime, I was hoping to receive some communication from NHRC. Also no communication had been made to me either by the Environment Ministry or the Health Ministry, Delhi Government to my concerns. So I did not know what to hope for.
        So this gives an idea of what living in India, especially Delhi is like. There is no point going into the details of corruption at this time but the world should take note that in the name of development, the administrators forcefully and without consensually pass legislations which are a contradiction on many counts. Anybody in Delhi will tell you that most of Delhi development is illegal. A Minister said 70%. Can you imagine? The pseudos from here will tell you that ‘oh! corruption is prevalent in other countries also, it’s just that it is at a higher level’. That makes no sense to the conscientious. In any case, currently I am not concerned with corruption in other countries, I am only interested in living a life of dignity here as enshrined in the Constitution. Is it not our fundamental right? And I would encourage folks from all over the world to actually take pictures of this lout place called Delhi of the development that has taken place after the stupid legislation which has forcefully legalized mixed land use in the name of some Global City nonsense. (Delhi was never international, by the way). My point is ‘show to the world what Mixed Land Use here means’. Inko kuch aataa bhee hai? Do they know anything? In residential localities, they have allowed Commercial Activities to take place which are ‘completely unregulated’. So, politely speaking, there is no similarity in what is preached and what is practiced. The entire nature of residential localities has been squashed. The MCD proudly goes about illegal demolition, restriction in a very skewed, confused, incongruent manner. Jo karnaa hai woh to karte nahin. They don’t do what they are supposed to do. Rather they protect themselves. I’ll tell why I say this. This will be clear from their 'Department Remarks' to 'my concern communicated to them' which will come soon. There is deliberate oversight. That is corruption.

        Then on 4th Oct., 2011, I received a copy of a communication from NHRC to the West Delhi District Police, Rajouri Garden, Delhi. My complaint had been assigned a Diary Number. The communication said that this case was supposed to be disposed off at their end. So I figured that probably the NHRC is not interested and they have simply forwarded my concern. Now nobody desirous of living peacefully would like to engage with the Indian Police. Somebody said, ‘the Indian Police is the largest organized criminal gang in the world’. I called up NHRC upon the receipt of the letter and told the person that if I had to go to the Police then I would have gone to them myself and that my concern has simply been forwarded by the NHRC to the Police. The person told me to note that the letter uses the word “directed”. Maybe it implies that it is an order. But then I also note that it says ‘disposal at your end’. That means that whatever the Police decides would be the final say? But then as per Sub Inspector Narendra Singh (this episode comes later), the Police has not granted permission to the restaurants, the MCD has. So, well, then I waited for the Police to contact me.

        Another communication was made by me to both the Health Ministry and the Environment Ministry which reminded them of the problem and also described the latest scenario. That comes a little later.

        I noticed later that a Department remark had actually been issued by the MCD to my concern. But I am presenting it now since it had been issued earlier. This is how it is:

“Sites inspected on 21.9.11 and found trades are running without License. There is proper arrangment of chimini and smoke of kitchen comes out through chimini at 3rd Fl level. challan were done vide No. ------ and ------ dt 17.9.2011 respectivley u s 417. trades are operating at Commercial notified road. Application regarding grant of HTL were rejected due to non submisson of required documents”

        Now you can see for yourself that my concern has gone completely white washed or has been overlooked or trashed away. The smoke comes out from the chimney, of course, but the chimney outlet is on the terrace and our house is in close proximity to the chimney outlets. That fact has been very conveniently ignored. “Trades are operating at commercial notified road”. Commercial notified does not imply that one can do just about anything. This is a residential area. How have restaurants been allowed? I have an objection. This does not seem to be any of MCD’s concern.
        How have the sacrosanct DDA shafts allowed to be encroached upon? This very smartly does not find mention at all in the remark. It simply says 3rd floor. It does not mention that “the shaft is encroached upon en route” by a duct or vertical pipe. It says proper arrangement of chimney, wow!
        HTL, to the best of my knowledge, stands for Health Trade License.


        So in essence the MCD is saying go ahead with the restaurants, keep on spewing smoke inside homes. We are not bothered. Don’t worry, there are enough ways to hoodwink. We’ll write this but we won’t write that.

        Around this time , in fact I had noticed that yes, the smell from the rear of restaurants at the ground floor level had diminished considerably. Apparently, the leakages at the ground floor had been taken care of but the duct outlets continue to be on the terrace.

        I would also like to tell the world that for some unknown reason, the President of the Block C2B Residents Welfare Association is supportive of the two Restaurants, especially “Soya Express” and seems to be protective towards it. He provides evasive arguments and simply negates my observation and propagates false propaganda. He seems to have convinced even the Ex Mayor of Delhi that the entry of foul smell and toxic fumes in our flat is not a possibility. He keeps saying we can't shut the Restaurants and keeps saying that the smell and fumes cannot enter our house. How can he be so sure?

        Plus, hello people all over the world, please present this page to the folks concerned with the ranking of municipal authorities of the world. It’s a sham if MCD is anywhere towards the top.




        Now all along I have been aware of the Right To Information Act. I have also been aware of the fact that a gross violation of bye laws is taking place. Also, this faulty legislation itself is anyways being flouted on many counts. There is a link earlier in this piece which can takes the visitor to a page enumerating the conditions under Mixed Land Use. I am just going step by step.



        Hmm, well, NHRC had sent me a copy of the directive to the Police. I was expecting that ok, now the Police is in the picture and they will call me. That did not happen. At the same time I thought that probably the Ministry Of Health and the Ministry Of Environment have not fully understood the problem or probably have simply ignored it. On 18th Oct. 2011, I wrote the following to both the Ministries. This also tells further about the scenario prevalent then.

The earlier grievance number is ---/---/----/------. The following may please be attached to it since I could not find the procedure to add on to an existing grievance.
16th September afternoon onwards the smell seems to have changed. It’s a different one. The discernible can smell it though. Sometimes it is like damp coal. Sometimes it is like something stale, like wet stale dough, or wet rotten foodstuff.
I’ll tell you what’s happening. In all probability, a Scrubber or other similar (maybe dissimilar) device, gadget, appurtenance has been installed to mask the fumes. It’s akin to spraying perfume in a stinking toilet. Read also – “mask the smell”. I believe this trick (or secret) is cleverly employed very frequently in Restaurant Kitchen exhaust chimney or flue stacks. There may be more such examples in Delhi and in India about which you may know better. The fumes’ smell goes away to varying degrees. But the air still contains undesirable molecules of air, molecules of gases which are injurious to health. The quantity of these molecules or technically ppm (parts per million) is much above the permissible. Now how much of what is permissible cannot be decided by a babu. The uninitiated babu should only know that once upon a time (not long ago) there was fresh air. Now toxic fumes from commercial activity enter homes.
Now these molecules make their presence felt in another way – burning of eyes, constant salivation without any tangible or visible cause, a kind of stagnant smell in rooms, in corners where these fumes ‘have reacted over a period of few minutes’. So one doesn’t smell the fumes but one notices that the air in rooms has become stale or smells stagnant. Upon switching the fans on, obviously it still persists because the fumes are constantly arriving, attacking. That’s how I know.
And upon switching on the cooler at night or at any time after a spell of non-operation we suddenly realize that yes, something is certainly wrong because the damp air is carrying molecules of the same air whose molecules got settled in the water of the cooler compartment over a period of time. This is how I know that something is afoul. If you need to convince yourself then you could bring your Air Quality Monitoring Equipments and monitor the air quality on our terrace and other terraces far away from these restaurant chimneys. You’ll need to monitor over days for endorsing my observations. It shouldn’t be that you just come in a huff, tell the Restaurants to shut down for a day, start monitoring and then brand me a liar.
Even at 3 AM in the night, the air quality is contaminated because the chimneys on the terrace are throwing out fumes constantly even when the Restaurants closed hours ago. IT IS 18 HOURS NUISANCE GOING ON TO BECOME 24 HOURS NUISANCE. We have been staying here for 37 years and suddenly we have to put up with such nonsense. Why?
Once again right from the afternoon through the evening of 16th October through the night going into 17th morning, the fumes and smell of burning coal was present in our balcony, our terrace, and also inside of our flat. There was burning, itching sensation in the eyes, in chest and choking in breathing, and it is definitely coal. I couldn’t sleep at all. It was not bearable. This happens regularly now. I wrote to you last month as well. It has occurred many times in between. What exactly are you waiting for?
My concern right now is that the toxic fumes from these flue stacks or chimneys or vertical pipes is not supposed to enter my residential premises. The distance is not very far. I am a citizen. I have an objection to this. My health, my life is threatened. Is it immaterial for you? Please take action urgently. The toxic gases ARE lethal. It is obvious that the same fumes travel up through the chimneys and spread out from there. You cannot allow such nonsense, such nuisance to affect our living, our health, our life. Imagine yourself in such a situation.



        Now consider people that we were continuously suffering. The Ministries had provided no response. One Restaurant operator had himself told us already that MCD won’t do anything (if you’ve read earlier). The NHRC had now brought the Delhi Police into the scene. So I decided to write to the Delhi Police myself and apprise them. This was also because I thought that it would be in the fitness of scheme of things that I provide a better complete updated assessment. So I wrote to them on the emails provided on the Delhi Police website. Below is the record of the same. By the way, if I recall correctly, the NHRC person had hinted that I should meet Delhi Police in person. I didn’t want to. I still don’t want to. Honest.

Toxic Fumes Health Hazard C2B Janak Puri 110058 NHRC --------
Monday, October 24, 2011 2:48 AM
From:

To:
dcp-west-dl@nic.in
Cc:
delpol@vsnl.com
Bcc:
covdnhrc@nic.in, ionhrc@nic.in
Message contains attachments
1 File (25KB)
Experience of the problem in detail for DCP West Delhi.doc
The Deputy Commissioner Of Police,
West Delhi District,
Rajouri Garden DCP Office,
NCTD.
Dear Sir / Madam,
Ref.: Obnoxious Smell Toxic Fumes Health Hazard. NHRC Directive Case No. --------.
To the best of my understanding you have important law and order issues to tackle. I am writing to you only because I have received a copy of a directive from the NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) to you. Further, it has been suggested verbally to me that I may contact you. I believe you have received a letter details of which are Case No. -------- and Dated 30 Sep 2011. Attached herewith please find more to that (experience of the problem in detail) for your appraisal. The (i) gist of the problem, the (ii) action desired is given below. Please note that if anybody (any resident) turns a blind eye to the menace, the problem despite its presence then that does not brand me a liar.
The problem (gist):
Two restaurants operating from flats 84A (Soya Express) and 86A (Zaika) cause the following:
Obnoxious smell ‘causing nuisance in life, living’. Obnoxious smell causing ‘interference in life’ by way of interfering in minute to minute activity, day to day activity, living. My ‘right to life with dignity’ is infringed upon.
Toxic fumes including ones from burnt coal causing difficulty in breathing, itching in eyes, burning feeling in chest, head. There is thus a ‘threat to health’. There is a ‘threat to life itself because of risk, danger of catching ailments’.
Action desired:
Please stop the spewing of fumes from the terraces of 84C and 86C of Block C2B, Janak Puri Postal Code 110058 which emanate from the Restaurants that operate from 84A and 86A respectively. The fumes and smell enter my residential premises which is in close proximity to the chimneys outlets or flue stacks outlets at the end of the vertical pipes or flue stacks which start from these respective restaurants on the ground floor.

General:

I wish to state that anybody’s business cannot be allowed to become a nuisance to my living, a threat to my life. I do not know whether this issue as enumerated in the whole of this correspondence is serious business for you. In the first place, under what provision, amendment of the law have ducts been allowed from inside of shafts of DDA flats? Why are the duct outlets not towards the road? Because the seating will be polluted. O, wow! So they decided to bother the residents. What is the seating doing outside on the public land? That is a green belt. Who has authorized them to lay chairs on public land? If the duct outlets cannot be towards the road, then If you ask me, well please shut down these establishments for good and put these fellows out of business. But then once again in the first place, what are restaurants doing inside a residential premises? This is collective housing (DDA Flats). Anybody opening and running a restaurant inside a collective housing causing nuisance and threat to life of others (howsoever slowly damaging – but damaging) should consider the impact on the residents living in the vicinity. Would you not term them goons? The toxic fumes from these Restaurants are “harmful to Society”. I am a citizen and a member of society and “these fumes are harmful to my health and a threat to my life”. How could the spewing of fumes inside of my home be allowed? This particular stretch of Block C2B, Janak Puri (in front of flats 83 to 90) is supposed to have a green belt and a pavement in front of it. Therefore, it cannot be Commercial. Can it be? If it can be (I doubt it), then can a Restaurant be allowed to run here? I am not asking Delhi Police to answer these questions for me. I am merely bringing this to your notice. If this brings better clarity for the citizens of Delhi, then so be it. And / But yes, I have an objection since the fumes enter my house from the top of the terraces of these flats. It is a nuisance activity. We have been staying here since 1974.
Once again, I am not sure if this completely falls under the parameters or definitions under 'vision, mission, role, what you do' as outlined on Delhi Police website.
Thank you.
Sandeep Vij,
---address---
Tel.:




        And following are the attachment contents:


Experience of the problem in detail:
The below was sent to NHRC and may already be with you. Further below to this is later development or experience being sent to you.
This is to bring to your attention that since about Aug. 10, 2011, a foul smell is present in a part of the Block C2B, Janakpuri - 110058. This is around …
… a right to life with dignity.
The above was sent to NHRC. Below is more for your appraisal.
16th September afternoon onwards the smell seems to have changed. It’s a different one. The discernible can smell it though. Sometimes it is like damp coal. Sometimes it is like something stale, like wet stale dough, or wet rotten foodstuff.
I’ll tell you what’s happening. In all probability, a Scrubber or other similar (maybe dissimilar) device, gadget, appurtenance has been installed to mask the fumes in both the Restaurants. It’s akin to spraying perfume in a stinking toilet. Read also – “mask the smell”. I believe this trick (or secret) is cleverly employed very frequently in Restaurant Kitchen exhaust chimney ducts or flue stacks. There may be more such examples in Delhi and in India about which you may know better. The fumes’ smell goes away to varying degrees. But the air still contains undesirable molecules of air, molecules of gases which are injurious to health. The quantity of these molecules or technically ppm (parts per million) is much above the permissible. Now how much of what is permissible cannot be decided whimsically. It has to be sensibly realized that once upon a time (not long ago) there was fresh air. Now toxic fumes from commercial activity enter homes.
Now these molecules make their presence felt in another way – burning of eyes, constant salivation without any tangible or visible cause, a kind of stagnant smell in rooms, in corners where these fumes ‘have reacted over a period of few minutes’. So one doesn’t smell the fumes but one notices that the air in rooms has become stale or smells stagnant. Upon switching the fans on, obviously it still persists because the fumes are constantly arriving, attacking. That’s how I know.
And upon switching on the cooler at night or at any time after a spell of non-operation we suddenly realize that yes, something is certainly wrong because the damp air is carrying molecules of the same air whose molecules got settled in the water of the cooler compartment over a period of time. This is how I know that something is afoul. If you need to convince yourself then you could bring your Air Quality Monitoring Equipments and monitor the air quality on our terrace and other terraces far away from these restaurant chimneys. You’ll need to monitor over days for endorsing my observations. Even if you take a walk inside the Block, you will notice a difference in the ‘complexion of inhaled air’, if I can use that term, if front of our balcony and elsewhere in the Block. I am telling you this because it may take anybody some time to understand what exactly I am saying. The dilemma is also that there is no way I can present you with an ‘evidence of coal emission on any particular date’.
Even at 2 AM in the night, the air quality is contaminated because the chimneys outlets on the terrace are throwing out fumes constantly even when the Restaurants closed hours ago. IT IS 18 HOURS NUISANCE GOING ON TO BECOME 24 HOURS NUISANCE. We have been staying here for 37 years and suddenly we have to put up with such nonsense. Why?
Once again right from the afternoon through the evening of 16th October through the night going into 17th morning, the fumes and smell of burning coal was present in our balcony, our terrace, and also inside of our flat. There was burning, itching sensation in the eyes, in chest and choking in breathing, and it is definitely coal. I couldn’t sleep at all. It was not bearable. This happens regularly now.




        Now denizens of the world will note that I had also sent a copy (Bcc) to the NHRC folks. This is because I didn’t want to run the risk of being told at a later stage that no, there has been no such communication from my side to the Delhi Police. And I can tell everybody that till Jan. 8, 2012, there is no indication from the Delhi Police that they have actually been able to retrieve this particular communication. More on this comes later.



        Watch this space for later developments.



        In the meantime, I have interacted with the Delhi Police. Details will appear soon. The only thing we are looking for is a resolution of the problem. We have a genuine problem. As long as the duct outlets are on the terrace, we will continue to suffer. This can be easily tackled by the restaurant operators if they are willing.
        If no updates appear here for a prolonged period of time, then I might have been taken out. So yes I am looking for some sort of protection mechanism from anywhere in the world. If you read between the lines, you’ll know what I mean. Hoping to see some powerful law abiding citizens from anywhere.




Fast Forward
_______________________
Am Still Around! (Sept. 10, 2013.

06/09/13
      One constable came around 6:15 P.M. He asked for me by name and then when told that I am him, he said “phone no. bataao (tell phone no.)”. I asked why he is asking. He said, “bataataa hoon, pehle phone no. bataao (shall tell, first tell phone no.)”. I said “baat to bataao (tell what is it)”. Then he said “aapne koi complaint karee thee smell kee, mujhe S.I. Bhawani Shankar ne bhejaa hai, baat karvaa doongaa, phone no. bataao (You had made some smell complaint, SI Bhawani Shankar has sent me, I’ll make you talk, tell phone no.)”. I gave him my cell no. He noted it. Then he dialled a no. and told me that this is Bhawani Shankar S.I. Then I talked on this Constable’s phone. The Constable’s Name Strip read Mahesh Kumar.
      I said “hello”. The person said “naam kyaa hai (what is name)?” I said “my name is Sandeep, tell”. Then he said he is Bhawani Shankar SI Janak Puri Police Station. “Aapne complaint karee thee Soya Express kee. Aap likh kar dedo ki Soya Express band ho gayaa. (You had made a complaint about Soya Express. You give in writing that Soya Express has shut).” I told him that I don’t know that it has closed. How can I give in writing? He said, “donon band ho gaye (both have closed down)”. I think I then told him that it is not for me to tell or write that they have closed. Plus I also told him that there has to be a reference no. on the basis of which I can give in writing whatever I have to give in writing. I also told him that a copy of the earlier complaint from my side to the S.I. Dharam Veer has not been received by me yet. Then he said that “emergency call ki kaaryavaahi der se hoti hai (emergency call investigation takes time)”! This is surprising. He also told me that the copy of the complaint is given if I am a complainee (if complaint has been lodged againt me)!
      Now the audio was bad and I couldn’t make out much of what else what he was saying. The phone was given back to the Constable.
      The Constable Mahesh Kumar, after hanging up,  then told me (almost instructed) that the S.I. Bhawani Shankar is in the Police Station and that I can go and meet him there. I told him that there is work at my end and can’t just get up and go. The point here is that why do they want me to go to the Police Station? Why can’t the S.I. come himself? S.I. Dharam Veer from Janak Puri P.S. had also come earlier. He had come about 4 times in 2011 - 2012. I am not inviting any police wallah home. The point is that if they need something, they should come, talk, show me some reference, leave immediately and give me time to react rather than demanding that I should visit the P.S. because their work is stuck, or whatever.
      S.I. asked me “kab tak ho jaayegaa (till when will this be done)?”
      I called the SI later and told him that I would call him either later in the day or the next day. On the 8th, I was preparing to write something after looking up my own records. I had no reference from the SI and was thinking as to what exactly should I give in writing and was trying to recall everything of 2011 and 2012. I was looking for a reference myself from my records so that it could be mentioned. Around the same time, SI called up. He demanded. He said “aap to aane waale the (you were going to come)”. I told him that I never said that, I only said that I shall call, and that I had asked him to give me a reference or reference no. but that was to no avail. Again he said that I should come to the Police Station. I told him that the letter will be prepared in a short while and that I would call on phone after it is done. In fact some of the talk of the SI could not be understood because of poor audio.
      So I prepared a letter citing the references of i). the SI Dharam Veer’s visit of Dec. 16, 2011 and the written complaint of the same day (copy of which has not been received by me), and also ii). the letter to the DCP West Delhi and Police Commissioner Delhi of Oct 24, 2013 2:48 AM from email id.
      Now, people, I don’t know that both Zaika and Soya Express have moved away. How do I know that? Yes, one doesn’t see their sign boards. It is not for me to mention that they have shut. I am not DDA. I am not MCD. In fact in the place of Zaika, there is another outlet. In fact three have come up bang bang bang. One is yes, an ice cream parlour, from where one may not expect smell. Another is a coffee outlet. One can expect smell. The third one is an Italian menu restaurant. This also emanates smell. I am not making any complaint on these ones because they do not have ducts opening from the top of the terraces and actually at times, despite this fact, some smell does enter our premises but it is of a very small magnitude as compared to the earlier menace. It is not the Ice Cream parlour emanating smell from shafts. I have just mentioned orally to the Manager or Zonal Manager of this Italian menu restaurant about our concern, a few months ago. He is Lalit Ahlawat. I hope I got the name right. He has assured me that the total volume will never be nuisance causing and that they will not make the fumes make exit from the ducts in shafts. In fact he himself said earlier that they actually “have” plans to make use of the shaft. I told him, ‘hello friend, what are you saying, it was the ducts in shafts only which caused us so many problems earlier, we are human beings, don’t do this.’ To this he said, ‘oh, okay, I assure you that we will not make the fumes exit from the shafts.’ Then he also mentioned about their company’s ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’! I wanted to check him there that hey, this is not exactly CSR, but I refrained from doing so unnecessarily. I thought, he is feeling happy about something, let him.
      Anyway, coming back to the letter. The letter was prepared. In the letter I have written that the problem of smell and polluted air is not there in the present time. I made copies of it. Immediately afterwards, I called the SI, told him that the letter is done and that he can get it collected. Again he wanted me to come. I told him that he can send his constable Mahesh Kumar. Then he said something else and once again, because of poor audio I couldn’t make out much of what he was saying. I told him that I would call him again. Then I called Mahesh Kumar also immediately after that. I told him that the letter is done and that he can come and collect it. He did not seem very enthused with the idea. But he said ok at the end. Upon reaching home, I called the SI immediately and told him that his Constable has agreed to collect the letter. He said ok. Now I am not supposed to be doing this communication stuff for them but the way they conduct themselves, one thinks that well, let's not ruffle any feathers unnecessarily. Then I called the Constable after some time and asked him when he would come. He said that he was busy. He said tomorrow (9th) after 5:00. He has not come yet. The letter is with me. It is 10th September as I write this. 



May 2016
Problem Restarts. :-( This time it is Flat 85A of Block C2B, and the details are at http://www.restaurantsdelhiresidential.blogspot.com .
Post a Comment