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Odd-even scheme called off after NGT removes exemptions

Green panel says it wants women-only vehicles, two-wheelers included in ban; Delhi government cites safety issues

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Delhi Odd even
The Delhi government had announced the odd-even scheme from November 13-17, given the high level of smog in the capital

The Delhi government on Saturday called off the odd-even scheme, which was to be implemented from Monday, after the Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered the withdrawal of exemptions under it, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said.

Gahlot said the government’s decision came in view of the directive by the NGT, which ordered the withdrawal of all exemptions on two-wheeler riders and woman-only vehicles.

He said the government was not ready “to compromise with the safety of women”.

“We respect the NGT’s decision. However, two conditions of that two-wheelers and women cannot be exempted make it difficult to implement the scheme, as we do not have adequate buses,” Gahlot said. “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 on Monday,” the minister said.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Delhi Chief Minister and attended by ministers, including Gahlot, Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain. Senior officials, including the chief secretary, were also present.

Earlier this week, the Delhi government had announced implementation of the odd-even scheme from November 13-17, given the high level of smog in the capital. 

The on Saturday gave a conditional nod to the odd-even scheme. The said the odd-even scheme should be implemented “without any default” as and when PM 10 level goes above 500 microgrammes per cubic metre and PM 2.5 level crosses the limit of 300 microgrammes per cubic metre during a span of 48 hours.

A bench headed by Chairperson 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.

The NGT’s decision came after the Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee 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.

A landmark IIT-Kanpur study, which covered the period 2013-14, had said that during winters, vehicles are the second-largest and the “most consistent” contributing source of pollutants PM10 and PM2.5. In terms of percentage, it comes to around 20-25 per cent during winters, the report said. The contribution of road dust is negligible during the colder months unlike summers when it plays a bigger role. However, in total vehicular contribution to pollution, the report showed that trucks and two-wheelers were the major polluters.

First Published: Sat, November 11 2017. 22:52 IST