The Arvind Kejriwal government has cancelled its plan to implement the Odd-Even road rationing scheme from Monday that was meant to help lift the noxious blanket of smog that has enveloped Delhi for the last six days. The decision was announced after an emergency cabinet meeting within hours of the National Green Tribunal’s conditional acceptance of the Odd-Even scheme. The chief among the conditions was a scrapping of exemptions for women and two-wheelers.
Pulling up the government for delayed implementation of the Odd-Even Rule, the court had said, “It seems you just want to reduce vehicles from roads… What is the basis of exemptions if you want to improve air quality?”
The Delhi government had announced the relaunch of the Odd-Even Scheme — under which cars with license plates ending in an odd number and even-number are allowed to ply on alternate days — last week after pollution levels in the national capital far outstripped Beijing and doctors said it was a public health emergency. The scheme was to be re-launched on Monday for five days.
Today, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said the Delhi government could not compromise on the safety of women. The government, he added, also did not have enough public transport alternatives to accommodate the over-60-lakh two-wheeler riders.
“At the moment we are calling it off. We will again approach the NGT and will ask them to allow exemptions to women and two-wheelers,” he added. On Monday, the government will file an appeal in the Green Court to reconsider its “no exemption” for women and two-wheelers.
The other reason for the decision to withdraw the plan was low pollution levels.
The court had said the Odd-Even Rule should be implemented every time Particulate Matter 10 exceeds the level of 500 and PM 2.5 rises above 300 for 48 hours. The Central Pollution Control Board has told the Green Court that the current level of Particulate Matter 10 is below 500 and Particulate Matter 2.5 is below 300.