Jalandhar, April 3 (IANS) With nature reclaiming its space, now you can see the mighty Dhauladhar range of Himachal Pradesh from plains of Punjab!
Most of the residents of this Punjab city never thought this was possible. But now this sight is possible, thanks to drastic decline in pollution levels owing to 21-day statewide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“The sparkling snow-clad mountains are so far away, yet so near with Covid 19 clearing the air,” said middle-aged resident Monty Sehgal.
He said this was for the first time in his lifetime that he saw these mighty peaks.
“For some seconds I couldn’t believe what I was seeing towards the northern side from my balcony. Then I realized this is the mighty Dhauladhar range,” an excited Sehgal, who owns a petrol station here, told IANS.
For many residents like him, it was a treat for the eyes.
“My grandfather used to tell me that snow-capped hills were visible from Jalandhar. But this is the first time in my 35 years that I am seeing the mountains and that too so clear,” said Neha Khanna.
She said someone told her that it is the Dhauladhar range of Kangra district. But she is not too sure and it really does not make a difference to her as long as she can enjoy the majestic skyline.
The Dhauladhar ranges in the picturesque Kangra Valley lies at a road distance of some 200 km from Jalandhar.
The famed abode of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in McLeodganj, a quaint uphill town in Kangra district with the Dhauladhar ranges in its backdrop, is attracting a steady stream of tourists mainly from northern states like Punjab for holidaying.
“When there is a total lockdown and coronavirus makes the people paranoid, sitting in a balcony and enjoying the snow-clad mountains gives you a hope that the crisis will be over soon,” said housewife Geetika Bhalla.
The snow view and Covid will simultaneously disappear, she said. But till then she wants to savour the view of the hills.
According to an official with the state pollution control board, Jalandhar’s air quality index (AQI) these days is between 30-35, which is good.
Normally, AQI of Jalandhar is more than 200. However, it reaches very poor quality at 400 during the stubble burning season in October-November.
Last year post-Diwali, when six of the state’s major cities recorded “very poor” AQI levels, Jalandhar topped the chart as its levels exceeding even those of the national capital.
Another resident Navneet Khullar urged the government should now make it an annual affair to impose a countrywide lockdown with travel restrictions for a few days to help the environment regain.
Even sighting of peacocks on the outskirts of Jalandhar is common these days owing to traffic restrictions, he added.