The second phase of the odd-even scheme in Delhi could be rolled out during school summer vacations in May-June, sources said on Monday, as the government claimed “positive feedback” from citizens to the radical move to curb pollution.
The 15-day first phase of the road rationing scheme – which saw vehicles with odd and even last numbers plying on alternate days – ended on Friday with the government claiming that the lower number of vehicles on roads brought down pollution by several notches.
“An assessment of 15 days was done by experts and officials of the departments concerned. Everyone agreed that the scheme helped in reducing congestion. Due to this, the capacity of public transport increased by 1.5 times as buses were able to make more trips. The pollution level has also come down,” Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai said.
Rai, who was part of a review meeting, said officials and experts were of the view that the scheme should continue.
However, the next phase could see the exemption to women withdrawn, though Rai said there was no plan to include motorcycles.
During the review meet, the timing of the next phase was not decided but two major concerns were raised.
“The first problem, which we need to address before implementing the second phase, is of parents who go to pick and drop their children from schools. They can still go to drop as the rule starts from 8 am but how will they pick up them is still a matter of concern. The committee has been asked to submit a report on this,” Rai added.
There were suggestions to exempt parents but the problem was how the transport department would identify them. Another suggestion was to relax the rule between 1 pm and 3 pm but that will defeat its basic purpose.
Sources said with this concern in mind, the government may postpone the next phase till the summer vacation.
“Till the board exams, we are not going to start the second phase. There is no deadline but we will surely implement it again,” said a government official. The transport minister said the second concern is that people will start buying second-hand cars.
“It happened in Mexico and other countries, where people started buying second-hand cars. We don’t want this to be repeated in Delhi. The committee has been asked to prepare a report on this,” Rai added.