The National Green Tribunal (NGT) slammed AAP-led Delhi government for announcing odd-even car rationing scheme, despite reports from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) that implementation of the car rationing scheme was ineffective and questioned the rationale behind it.
Under the policy, private vehicles in Delhi are allowed to run based on the last number of their licence plates. Odd-numbered cars are allowed to run on odd dates while even-numbered cars can only run on even dates.
According to media reports, the NGT said that nothing has been done to counter the pollution in past year, and the government should have acted earlier.
NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said while the green bench was not against the odd-even scheme, it wanted to know how it helps.
“We will not allow odd-even vehicle rationalisation scheme until you prove that it’s not counter-productive,” he said.
The bench asked the government to clarify how many out of the proposed 500 extra buses to boost public transport during the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme would be running on diesel.
Earlier on Friday, the Delhi government announced free travel in all DTC and cluster buses to encourage the use of public transport during the odd-even car scheme from 13-17 November.
Kumar observed that even Delhi Metro failed to help during the last edition of odd-even as during peak hours “it was difficult to even breathe inside the metro”.
NGT also asked Delhi government to give an undertaking that it will roll out odd-even only when particulate matter levels are over.
NGT also pulled up Punjab and Haryana government for failing to tackle ‘stubble burning’.
On the decision of rolling out the third odd-even car scheme, NGT asked the AAP government that why have you exempted two-wheelers and women.
The final decision to roll out the scheme is expected on Saturday.
Earlier, the Delhi govt had asks NGT to exempt industries catering to essential services from its ban order.
NGT in its response allowed industries engaged in essential services to operate in Delhi-NCR on condition that they would not pollute.
On Thursday, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot had announced the implementation of odd-even car scheme for a five-day period from 13 November. The odd-even will be implemented from 8 am to 8 pm for five days.
The decision comes as air pollution levels have reached ‘severe’ level in Delhi-NCR region. The air quality index (AQI) at 7.30 am was recorded at 468, which was worse than Tuesday’s average AQI of 448.
While addressing a media conference on Thursday, Gahlot said that, the state government will also ensure no surge pricing of Ola-Uber cabs, said Gehlot.
Gehlot said PM Narendra Modi should convene emergency meeting of CMs of Delhi, adjoining states to discuss pollution.
“IGL stickers for cars will be available from tomorrow at 22 CNG stations across Delhi. Also extra buses are being arranged. But we will not requisition for school buses,” said Gehlot.
The scheme was implemented twice in 2016 — from 1-15 January and 15-30 April.
(With agency inputs)