The Delhi government will not exempt Members of Parliament from the odd-even scheme in the face of attack by lawmakers who have described the road-rationing plan aimed at curbing air pollution as an insult.
At least a dozen MPs, mostly from the BJP, drove to Parliament in cars with even number plates on Monday -- an odd day. Ahmedabad MP Paresh Rawal, who later admitted to his ‘blunder’ , was among them.
“There are just four days left and by the time any change in the notification is effected, the scheme will itself end,” Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai said.
The second phase of the odd-even scheme that started on April 15 and will run till April 30 allows private cars with registration numbers ending in odd digits to ply on odd dates and those ending in even digits on even dates.
“The notification cannot be changed now but we will extend all possible cooperation,” Rai said, responding to criticism by MPs.
As the budget session resumed on Monday, both Houses saw ruckus over the issue. Some alleged the “insulting” move will “generate corruption”.
MPs have not been given exemption under odd-even, and any violation attracts a penalty of Rs 2,000. The President, Prime Minister, vice-president, Union ministers, Chief Justice of India and judges of high courts, among others, are exempted.
Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Pappu Yadav , who has been critical of the scheme, accused Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of benefitting car and CNG companies.
“We are not from Delhi and come here only when Parliament is in session. So, they should think over it. However, they have claims of making some arrangements like bus, but I didn’t find one,” said All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi, who walked to Parliament House.
Transport minister Rai, however, said Parliamentarians violating the scheme “intentionally” will be challaned but those who flouted the rule by mistake while going to Parliament will be spared.
“The rules are same for all and MPs are also covered under the odd-even scheme. Those who will intentionally violate it or repeat the mistake will be issued challans,” he said.
“It is an opportunity for the Parliamentarians to set an example by obeying the scheme and show that they also follow the rules like other people,” he said.
Rai met Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari on Monday to discuss the issue. The transport minister had spoken to Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan a day ago and agreed to operate special shuttle buses for parliamentarians.
Though the Delhi government rolled out the air-conditioned bus service, it withdrew a majority of the buses within hours due to poor response.
The ‘MP Special’ buses were to ply from 9am to 11am and 5.30pm to 8pm. Just four-five lawmakers availed of the facility of DTC’s “MP Special” to reach Parliament.
“However...it has been decided that two buses will be retained as shuttles for MPs..,” Rai said.
Vijender Gupta, leader of Opposition in Delhi assembly, alleged that the Delhi Transport Corporation “failed on the very first day of the current Parliament session”.
(With agency inputs)