Will Delhi have odd-even scheme? The government is confused
The Delhi government seems to be confused about the planned odd-even scheme. Earlier, the NGT had refused to allow exemptions in its implementation, but the government batted for exempting women and two-wheelers. They should be exempted for a year, or till 2,000 more buses are added, it had urged. However, it has now withdrawn the plea. Will Delhi finally have odd-even or not?
During the odd-even scheme, private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers are allowed to ply on alternate days only. The AAP government executed its first phase during January 1-15, 2016, and the second during April 15-30 the same year. But the Central Pollution Control Board had said there was no evidence to suggest it had reduced vehicular pollution.
On November 9, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government announced that due to Delhi's declining air quality, odd-even restrictions would be imposed for the third time during November 13-17. But NGT put the scheme on hold. It had several questions: it asked how much cars contribute to total pollution and how much one diesel-run vehicle pollutes compared to petrol vehicles. "Also, why exempt two-wheelers/women from odd-even?"
On November 11, the NGT approved the scheme, but then the government called it off saying it wasn't ready yet. Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot stated it can't be implemented without exemptions to two-wheelers, government servants, and especially to women.
The government earlier argued that 25L people use 68L two-wheelers in Delhi, and it would need 2,500 more buses to accommodate these people. Due to the hardships, economic activities "may face large-scale disruption". Women passengers would be particularly affected "because of security reasons". The government doesn't have enough buses and procuring private transporters would need at least three months, it said.
Meanwhile, PM10 and PM2.5 levels in Delhi have been at "emergency" levels since 48 hours. Experts have predicted change of wind speed and direction will improve air quality to "very poor" today. Light showers are also expected which will help settle pollutants.