The Delhi government on Sunday spelled out the days for odd and even-numbered vehicles to ply in the city under a radical road-rationing plan that was hailed as a “good idea” by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur.
Delhi’s alarming air pollution, the worst for any city in the world, has forced the Kejriwal government to ban private vehicles from its roads on alternate days. Announced on Friday after the high court described the city as a gas chamber, the plan kicks in from January 1.
Vehicles with odd number registration would be allowed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Delhi home and health minister Satyendra Jain said. Those with even-numbered vehicles can drive them on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Jain didn’t say anything about Sundays.
Road rationing is among the various steps that the Delhi government announced to clean the city’s toxic air that has worsened in the last few weeks with a thick blanket of smog enveloping the Capital.
Aware of the scepticism surrounding the plan, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has said it was a temporary solution. “Let’s try the odd-even car formula for at least a few days… If there are a lot of problems, we can stop it and learn from the failure,” Kejriwal said at the HT Leadership Summit on Saturday.
Justice Thakur , however, came out in support and even suggested carpooling to limit vehicle use in the city, which has the highest numbers of cars in the country.
“Judges have no problem with the odd-even formula of the Delhi government,” justice Thakur said during his first interaction with the media after taking over as the 43rd CJI on December 3. “There is no difficulty in even having carpool. If my brother judges agree to it, we can start it soon.”
The CJI’s endorsement was a “huge encouragement”, the CM said. “CJI’s support 2 odd even formula is welcome and huge encouragement. SC judges pooling cars would inspire millions to follow. Thank u My Lords,” Kejriwal tweeted.
The CJI’s carpooling idea seemed to have hit home.
Jain said vehicles restrictions would be applicable to ministers and government officials as well. “I will carpool on alternate days. There is no problem,” he said.
Vehicular emissions are one of the biggest contributors to Delhi’s toxic air. The situation worsens in winters as pollutants hang in the air for a longer time.
If implemented, Delhi will be the first Indian city to restrict vehicle use to clean air. Several cities in the world have undertaken the drastic measure but for limited periods of time though road-space rationing is followed in various forms across the world.
For the city, the government has asked people for suggestions that can be mailed at email@example.com.