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Tourism will be impacted negatively by the “message” that India’s national capital is reeling under air pollution, India’s Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma said today, as he batted for greater efforts to make the city pollution-free, reports.

Mr Sharma, however, felt that it was “practically impossible” to implement Delhi Government’s odd-even number formula for plying vehicles on city roads as a measure to curb pollution.

“The message that is going out to the world whether Delhi is a polluted capital… will have negative impact on tourism in the country.

Countrymen, especially people in Delhi, should take a pledge to make the city and country pollution-free.

“Tourism is our strength, to generate foreign exchange. This (pollution) will have impact on the same,” the Union Minister of Culture said.

The Minister made the remarks while speaking on the sidelines of launch of National Museum’s art gallery at Udyog Bhawan Metro Station in Delhi.

Mr Sharma urged people to keep in mind they do not hand over a legacy of polluted Delhi to future generations.

Responding to a question on reports of people using masks as a precautionary measure, the Minister stressed that “efforts should be made that people do not need to use mask in the first place”.

“If experts find air pollution levels high, doctors may have to suggest people to wear mask (as precaution) in that case,” he added.

On Arvind Kejriwal Government’s formula to ply vehicles with odd-even number on road to curb pollution, Mr Sharma said, “He (Kejriwal) has made an effort. But practically it looks impossible.”

Mr Sharma also urged people to have a glimpse India’s culture through National Museum.

“It (launching the gallery) is a small effort by the Ministry along with Metro to bring India’s culture from museum to metro station, where lakhs of people come and go daily. The gallery is an invitation to people to come and have glimpse of country’s culture and civilisation,” he added.

In a radical step to curb air pollution, Delhi Government had last Friday announced private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers will be allowed to ply only on alternate days starting January 1.

The formula will be in force between 8 am and 8 pm for an initial period of 15 days and there will be no restrictions on vehicular movement on Sundays, the Delhi government had said yesterday.

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