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Amid high pollution levels, NGO organises marathon for children in Delhi; faces flak

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Amid high pollution levels, a children's marathon was organised on Thursday in the national capital by an NGO, which faced severe criticism.

The marathon, 'Run for Children', was organised by NGO Prayas-Juvenile Aid Centre from Vinay Marg to Hyatt Hotel around 6.30 am. Hundreds of children, mostly from the under-privileged section of the society, took part in the run.

Several people took to social media to criticise the event, which was organised on a day when the air quality in Delhi was in the 'severe' category.

"Seriously??? The air pollution level in Delhi has gone so worse this week that schools are closed till 15th and on the other side this 'Run for Children' event is organised. Who organizes this and what's wrong with them?? #DelhiPollution #DelhiAirEmergency," said Juned Sumra, a cyclist, on Twitter.

"So ironical...ppl cant go to #schools due to #pollution and #LIC is organizing a run for #children in #Delhi," Krishna Mohan Uppu, a bureaucrat, tweeted.

On Wednesday night, the Delhi government had directed closure of schools until Friday due to high levels of pollution.

Amod Kanth, former IPS officer and general secretary of the NGO, said the message to call off the marathon could not be conveyed at the last minute.

"The marathon which started at the Vinay Marg in Chanakyapuri was cut short after conducting a symbolic run for a few metres. After that the students took to cultural activities," he said.

Kanth said the marathon is being organised every year since its inception on this day in 1988.

Indu Singh, director (special projects) with the NGO, said they had begun preparations for the event a month back and there was no mechanism to inform the children at the last minute as several other NGOs were involved in it.

The run was "symbolic" and the children covered a distance of only 200 metres after which it was called off, she said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 14 2019. 23:25 IST