Delhi CM Kejriwal says govt will bring back improved odd-even formula | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Delhi CM Kejriwal says govt will bring back improved odd-even formula

The trial run of the odd-even formula ended on Friday with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hailing it as “a big success” and saying it would be back in an “improved form”

delhi Updated: Jan 16, 2016 01:59 IST
HT Correspondent
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hailed the odd-even formula as “a big success” and said that it would be back in an “improved form”.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hailed the odd-even formula as “a big success” and said that it would be back in an “improved form”.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

The trial run of the odd-even formula ended on Friday with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hailing it as “a big success” and saying it would be back in an “improved form”.

“Proud of u Delhi. U give me confidence ‘Together, we can achieve anything’. 1st phase of Odd Even ends today. Will do again in improved form,” the CM tweeted.

The improved version would include pruning the list of exemptions and adding more buses, transport minister Gopal Rai told NDTV, though Delhi government officials claimed there were no immediate plans to bring the road-rationing experiment back. Kejriwal earlier urged Delhiites to follow the restrictions “voluntarily” for now.

Read | Delhi odd-even plan a success, continue it voluntarily: Kejriwal

The AAP government will now meet on Monday to review the impact of the scheme on the city’s pollution levels — the reason why it was introduced for a 15-day period in the first place — and its future. It claimed on Friday that the level of pollutants in the air had come down by 20-25% in the last fortnight and peak pollution levels were lower than those recorded in December.

But a clear link between air pollution and vehicular restrictions could not immediately be demonstrated.

Data, in fact, suggests the primary factors that decide air pollution levels are wind speed and humidity. On days the wind speed was high, pollution levels — especially the extremely fine PM2.5 and PM10 that can penetrate and lodge deep in the lungs — were also low. Low humidity levels also helped disperse these pollutants.

Meteorology experts agreed that air quality was governed by a number of factors, especially weather conditions.

Read | Why Delhiites must make an ‘odd-even’ rule work

A report by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), though, said a marginal drop in pollution levels can be attributed to the odd-even scheme — when the number of cars on the road came down by 21% — though the main reasons for the drop were high wind speed and low humidity.

The government is expected to release a detailed report on its assessment of the impact of the odd-even rules on air pollution on Monday.

Kejriwal said the biggest success of the odd-even story was the way it had reduced traffic congestion.

The TERI report, too, said the scheme had additional benefits. “In addition to reduction in emissions from cars, the odd-even scheme… reduced on-road congestion. Average car speeds monitored by TERI on national highway 24 increased by 15-20%.”

Government officials said while there was massive support among people for an extension of the formula, there was no plan to do so immediately. “Schools will reopen on Saturday and it will be very tough to continue this experiment then. We need to look at strengthening public transport first,” said an official.

Inviting Delhiites to a ceremony at Chhatrasal Stadium on Sunday so he could express his gratitude, Kejriwal said, “An Rs 2,000 fine means nothing to people. You can only watch a movie for that amount today. It was the willingness of the people to contribute that made the scheme a success.”

Read | Odd-even formula: Delhi says yes to plan that curbed pollution