Choking the middle
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But the public has also bought this self-fulfilling construct that the environment is some kind of specialised niche rather than a public goods problem in which we are all implicated. Gulzar once penned these characteristically enigmatic lines about Indian cities: aansoo ki jagah, aata hai dhuan; jeene ki wajah toh koi nahin, marne ka bahana dhoondta hain. If the CSE is right, we are, literally, breathing smoke and don't even need a reason to die.
The writer, president of the Centre for Policy Research, is contributing editor, 'The Indian Express'