Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked the state transport department to send him its views on various exemptions to be granted for various segments of vehicles ~ exemptions to women-driven vehicles, two-wheelers and CNG-run vehicles ~ in the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme to be implemented between 4 and 15 November in the national capital.
The transport department has been asked to send their views on this issue to the CM within three days after reviewing several aspects including the current capacity of the public transport network, officials reportedly said, adding that the AAP-led Delhi government will take a decision on exemptions after going through the department’s views.
Like the last two editions of the odd-even scheme in 2016, the Delhi government might exempt all these categories this November too.
In September, Kejriwal announced the implementation of the odd-even scheme in November in anticipation of the smog Delhi faces each winter due to stubble-burning in neighbouring states.
Under the scheme, the government mandates vehicle rationing to permit the use of vehicles with odd and even-numbered registration plates on odd and even dates of the week.
The move is aimed at limiting vehicular emissions into the air during a period when Delhi faces incoming smoke due to crop-stubble burning.
As the Delhi government gears up to implement the odd-even scheme, the question of which segments of vehicle drivers should be exempted from the alternate day bar is being discussed at length, officials said.
They said the most critical segment being discussed in this regard was that of women-driven vehicles. From the point of view of women’s safety, when the government had implemented the scheme in 2016, all vehicles that had only women passengers were exempt from the rule. The rationale was that women in Delhi feel a sense of security in their own vehicles for travelling and should be permitted to take the safest mode of transport.
The CM has directed the transport department to consider the implementation of this exemption and share its views on repeating the same for this year’s odd-even programme, officials said.
In the previous editions of the scheme, all two-wheelers had been exempted from the alternate day bar on plying on the roads. While this significantly helped manage traffic on the city’s public transportation system, some experts had expressed reservations against this exemption.
The latest estimate for the number of two-wheelers that ply in Delhi is reported to be over 70 lakh. If they are not exempted, it will lead to over 35 lakh persons, other than lakhs of pillion riders, to switch to Delhi’s public transport every day.
On exemption to CNG-run vehicles, officials said their emissions are substantially less polluting than diesel or petrol vehicles. The CM is concerned that the odd-even scheme might not achieve its purpose if people bypass the curbs by using wrongfully-procured CNG stickers to evade penalty.
Kejriwal reportedly feels that there is a need to balance the odd-even scheme’s objectives with the genuine needs of some segments of the population that use private vehicles.