Odd-Even Scheme In Delhi Suspended For Now; Final Decision Expected Today
Modified On Nov 13, 2017 11:10 AM By Rachit Shad
Last week, the Delhi government announced that the pollution-controlling scheme will come into effect, for five days, from November 13
Air pollution in our country’s capital has never been a stale topic to ramble on about. No matter when you get hold of the air toxicity levels pertaining to Delhi-NCR, they are always in red and multifolds above the safe level. To tackle the recent rise in the smog clouds, which hampered transportation and even caused severe accidents on highways, the Delhi government announced that the third phase of its odd-even scheme will be implemented across Delhi-NCR. However, the National Green Tribunal stepped in to evaluate the stringent exemptions list proposed by the Delhi government.
Proposed Exemptions - Not The Same As Before
The exemptions list for the third phase of Odd-Even rule, as proposed by the government of Delhi, is a lot more stringent. So CNG vehicles, as before, are exempted. The CNG stickers which were given during the last stint of Odd-Even will be valid. But, sole women drivers, vehicles with children in school uniform, two wheelers are not. The large list of exemptions only reduces the efficacy of this scheme and let's not forget, the ban on sale of BS III two-wheelers came into effect earlier this year. That means most of the two wheelers plying on roads do not meet the more stringent BS-IV levels of emission norms.
Will Public Transport Be Overburdened?
Kailash Gahlot, transport minister, said that the state government has directed the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to hire 500 additional buses from contractors to accommodate the rush of commuters during odd-even rule. "Delhi Metro has also promised to provide 100 small buses during the period. Schools will be free to provide their buses voluntarily. However, there will be no compulsion," he added.
Learning From The Past
The last two phases of the Odd-Even scheme did help in reducing congestion on roads and improving the air quality index in the Delhi-NCR region. However, air pollution from vehicles isn’t the sole perpetrator to Delhi’s choking conditions. Toxic release from other means, like burning of biomass, thermal power plants, industries and construction also contribute to them.
The governing bodies even ran campaigns to educate people to stop burning plastics, wood, crop residue and other unwanted articles in Delhi. But since that is randomly spread across one of the biggest cities in the world, it is hard to keep a track on who is doing what.
Is Odd-Even Scheme Required?
Another aspect which has come to light is that members of the task force on the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) never recommended the Delhi government to implement the odd-even scheme immediately. The reason behind was that the smog conditions were expected to improve from November 11. The GRAP task force consists of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and the state pollution control boards.
However, over the weekend, the smog conditions in Delhi-NCR worsened. The prediciton of better visibility and comparatively less toxic air didn't come true. On November 11, IMD officials said that light rain showers are expected to hit Delhi and the surrounding regions, which will inevitably help in reducing the smoggy conditions.