Schools and road-rationing scheme seem to be at odds with each other.
The second phase of the odd-even plan in Delhi saw higher congestions compared to the first round, a government report has said, identifying cars ferrying students to schools as the biggest reason for the increase in traffic.
“There was an additional volume of 388,886 cars (private cars and car pooling), 134,598 two-wheelers and 8,000 buses, which was not there during the first phase,” says the report made public on Wednesday.
The panel tasked with assessing the impact of schools and warm weather on the odd-even campaign terms the April15-30 phase as “largely successful” in its report.
The Delhi government resorted to the radical measure for the first time in January as air pollution touched alarming levels and the high court likened the city to a gas chamber. Schools were then shut for winter break.
“The sample survey carried out in six schools on random basis indicated that almost a very high percentage of students used cars and other private vehicles to reach school,” says the panel.
As many as 13,497 students from the city’s top private schools were asked how they commuted during the two-week period. Private cars were allowed only on alternative days. Those with odd-numbered plates could be driven on odd dates and those with an even number as the last digit on even days.
Vehicles crowded almost five kilometers of the area around schools, says the report, also blaming high temperatures and wedding season for the congestion.
The Kejriwal government had criticised the media, saying it was responsible for creating the perception that the second phase saw more congestion and was a failure.
According to a report by The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri), the drop in particulate matter 2.5, which can lodge deep in lungs and causes respiratory distress, in the second phase was 4% opposed to 7% in January.
Pollution is higher in winters as cold air keeps pollutants like dust particles trapped for a longer time.
Teri also found that more cars stayed off the road – 21% -- in January compared with 17% in April.
The government set up a six-member committee following reports that the second phase was not as successful as the first one, primarily because of higher congestion.
Though effectiveness of road-rationing plan is a matter of debate but more vehicles do mean higher pollution.