Delhi government calls off odd-even scheme for now
NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has called-off the odd-even scheme after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) refused to exempt anyone from the car rationing regulation.
Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot made the surprise announcement on Saturday, hours after the NGT gave its conditional nod to the AAP government to implement the policy from November 13 to 17.
"Odd-even scheme from November 13-17 in the national capital has been called off in view of order by NGT which withdrew all exemptions except on plying of emergency vehicles," Gahlot said.
The decision to call-off the scheme was taken at a meeting chaired by Arvind Kejriwal and attended by ministers, including Gahlot, Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain.
"Also we cannot compromise with the safety of women. We cannot take risks. PM2.5 and PM10 levels have also come down. So at the moment we are calling it off. We will file a review application in NGT on Monday," the minister said.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had floated the idea to enforce odd-even for the third time after hazardous smog engulfed the national capital earlier this week.
The environmental protection agency pronounced its decision at a special meeting it had called earlier in the day to determine whether the scheme will help reduce the near deadly levels of air pollution in Delhi and in the National Capital Region (NCR).
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar ordered that there should be no exemption to "any person or officer and two-wheelers" from the ambit and scope of the road rationing scheme and would be applied with equal vigour to all vehicles.
Earlier, the government had announced exemptions for women drivers, two-wheelers and vehicles carrying children in school uniforms, besides VVIPs.
Today's decision came after the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) told the bench that two-wheelers were more polluting than other vehicles, and emissions from motorbikes accounted for 20 per cent of the total vehicular pollution.
However, the tribunal exempted CNG vehicles, emergency services such as ambulance and fire, and vehicles carrying waste.