Odd-even ends, decision on extending drive on Monday
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government will take a call on November 18 on whether the road rationing scheme will be re-introduced in the light of the city’s air quality touching ‘emergency’ levels this week.Updated: Nov 16, 2019 00:48 IST
The third edition of the odd-even scheme in Delhi — which came to an end on Friday — witnessed around half the number of prosecutions for violation when compared to the last two editions enforced in 2016.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government will take a call on November 18 on whether the road rationing scheme will be re-introduced in the light of the city’s air quality touching ‘emergency’ levels this week.
The decision, he said, will depend largely on Delhi’s air quality over the weekend. “We are concerned about pollution. I congratulate the people of Delhi for their voluntary participation. As per forecasts, air quality is likely to improve in the next two days. We are keeping a close watch. The scheme will see if it [re-enforcement of odd-even] is necessary,” said the chief minister.
“But we don’t want to be impose anything on people and cause unnecessary trouble.,” Kejriwal said on Friday.
The Supreme Court on Friday called the odd-even rationing scheme “half-baked” and said that it might not be a solution to control the deteriorating air quality in the national capital.
The apex court said that despite the implementation of the scheme, the pollution levels have continued to increase.
ODD-EVEN IN NUMBERS
The third edition of the vehicle rationing scheme – which was enforced between November 4 and 15 – witnessed 4,885 prosecutions compared to 10,058 and 9,576 violations in the first two editions enforced in January and April 2016 respectively, government records showed. This despite the government enlarging the ambit of the road space rationing scheme this time by removing private CNG cars from the exemption list.
Each prosecution this time entailed a penalty of Rs 4,000, which was Rs 2,000 more than the last two editions.
The reduced prosecution numbers indicate better compliance, claimed Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot.
“I thank every Delhiite for their cooperation and participation in the odd-even programme. I would request all to use public transport and endorse carpool to help reduce both pollution and traffic congestion,” Gahlot told Hindustan Times.
The first edition of the scheme – enforced between January 1 and 15 in 2016 – had witnessed the lowest prosecutions on its first day, with only 138 drivers fined. But it went on to witness the highest number of prosecution in terms of total numbers by the end of the drive. While the second edition started with 1,311 prosecutions on its first day, the third edition took off with 271 fines, government records showed.
On the last day of the third edition of the scheme, 576 prosecutions were recorded.
Senior officials in Delhi’s transport and environment departments attributed the higher compliance to factors that include the third edition of the scheme being functional for 10 days, excluding Sundays and two days for Gurupurab, compared to 13 functional days in the previous editions (excluding only Sundays), increased concerns about the annual air pollution crisis in the city and higher penalty for violation under the amended Motor Vehicles Act.
However, the latest edition of odd-even also witnessed days when the police personnel took part in a protest after a clash with lawyers in city courts and enforcement of the drive was impacted. On the day of protest, 562 prosecutions were recorded, with 213 prosecutions made by the traffic police, which is the second-lowest after the first day of enforcement.
On the first day (November 4), Kejriwal had said the enforcement agencies — which includes the transport department, revenue department and the traffic police — had deliberately acted lenient.
Under the odd-even scheme, private cars with even registration numbers are allowed to ply on even dates and those with odd registration numbers on odd dates between 8am and 8pm.