Odd-even scheme back in Delhi from November 4-15

The odd-even vehicle rationing scheme will return to the Capital for the third time in November, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said here on Friday.

The scheme, Mr. Kejriwal announced at a press conference, will be enforced from November 4 to 15 as part of a seven-point action plan mainly aimed at combating the detrimental effect that stubble and residual crop burning in neighbouring States such as Punjab and Haryana has on the Capital's ambient air quality in winter months.

The scheme entails allowing private vehicles whose registration number ends in even digits to ply on even dates and those with odd last digits to ply only on odd dates, with violators drawing a ₹2,000 fine. Women drivers and two-wheeler riders were exempted from the scheme on both the previous occasions.

“Studies conducted on the effect of the scheme say that when it is enforced, air pollution in Delhi is reduced by 10%-13%,” the Chief Minister said.

Oppn. flays move

The announcement triggered an immediate attack on the Aam Aadmi Party Delhi government from the Opposition BJP, with its Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari accusing Mr. Kejriwal of “harassing” the people of Delhi through the implementation of the scheme. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari also reacted from Nagpur stating that there was “no such need” for the move.

“Though it is an emergency measure, in the month of November, the smoke emanating due to stubble burning from other States creates an emergency-like situation in the city, making it a gas chamber, so we will be implementing the scheme in view of the situation,” Mr. Kejriwal said, further adding that this would be Delhi’s own bit to address the situation even as he acknowledged that Haryana and Punjab, in addition to the Centre, were making efforts in this regard.

Other measures

The Chief Minister also announced other measures of the ‘Parali Pradushan’ plan such as the distribution of free anti-pollution masks to citizens.

“The Delhi government will make large-scale procurement of around 50-60 lakh of the best quality N-95 anti-pollution masks which will be distributed among the people in October, before the spike in air pollution the next month,” he said.

Other components of the seven-point plan include mechanised sweeping and water sprinkling on roads, tree plantation, and special measures to be put in place at 12 pollution hotspots in Delhi.

Mr. Kejriwal also appealed to Delhiites to avoid bursting crackers on Diwali in late October, and urged them to make more use of public transport.

The Delhi government, he said, will also hold a mega laser show on the eve of Diwali. While the burning of waste and garbage will be checked by deploying two ‘environmental marshals’ in each municipal ward, the Delhi government, will also set up a dedicated control room to monitor complaints related to air pollution.

The announcement comes a day after the Chief Minister met environment experts for suggestions on combating the air pollution spike the Capital faces in winter.

The experts, the government had said on Thursday, supported the odd-even policy as well as the use of pollution masks as effective short-term pollution mitigation measures that can be taken by the government.

This will be the third time that the vehicle rationing scheme, which according to the Graded Response Action Plan devised by the Central Pollution Control Board should be implemented when the pollution level persists at 'severe plus' for 48 hours or more, will be put in place in the Capital after two 15-day periods of implementation in January and April 2016.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 12:46:49 AM |

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