Odd-even scheme returns to Delhi, will be implemented in November
The odd-even scheme, launched in Delhi for the first time in 2016, is returning from November 4 to 15, the state's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced at a press conference on Friday. This effectively means that during the aforementioned days, vehicles having odd numbers will be allowed on Delhi's roads on odd dates, and those having even license plates on even dates. Here's more.
Delhi's air quality is extremely poor, and in 2016, the scheme was introduced with the hope of curbing winter air pollution. After initially being rolled out in January 2016 for 15 days (January 1 to 15), the scheme was reinforced between April 15 and 30. Reportedly, Kejriwal met experts on Thursday to discuss ways to contain the menace of air pollution.
According to reports, Dr. Ken Lee, executive director of Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago, India (EPIC), concluded that in 2016, the odd-even scheme "reduced particulate air pollution concentrations by 14 to 16%". However, he added that the scheme is best-suited as an "emergency response". Meanwhile, OP Agarwal, CEO, World Resources Institute (WRI), opined that the government should promote public transport.
Further, experts told Kejriwal that pollution masks also help reduce the harmful effect of pollution. "In a study done by EPIC India across 3,500 slum residents of Delhi in winter of 2018, it was found that the take-up of masks was the highest when it was distributed for free," the statement issued by Delhi government read. WRI suggested more masks should be distributed.
At the press meet, Kejriwal announced a seven-point action plan to put a check on pollution. Revealing that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government will organize a laser show in Delhi before Diwali, Kejriwal said, "We also call upon people not to burst crackers during Diwali (October 27)." Last year, the Supreme Court had allowed Delhiites to burst crackers for two hours on Diwali.
Interestingly, women drivers have been exempted from this scheme, and it will not be applicable on weekends either. Last week, Kejriwal proclaimed that air pollution in Delhi has reduced by 25% in four years. "Pollution levels are no longer increasing in Delhi and a 24-hour power supply is a reason behind it. This has stopped the use of diesel-based power generators," he said.