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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

‘Don’t want to impose hardship needlessly’: Kejriwal to review Odd-Even on Monday

Arvind Kejriwal appeared to concede that the odd-even scheme would only have a limited impact on air pollution since a major source of the deadly cocktail of pollution was stubble burning.

delhi Updated: Nov 15, 2019 13:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has put off decision on odd-even scheme in Delhi to Monday.
Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has put off decision on odd-even scheme in Delhi to Monday.(Sanchit Khanna/HT)
         

A decision on extending the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme in national capital Delhi will be taken on Monday, November 18, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday. Kejriwal said the air quality was predicted to improve over the next two-three days. “So we will take a call on Monday,” he said.

The Chief Minister, whose government has been told by the Supreme Court to produce air pollution data to back up the rationale for the scheme, appeared to concede that the vehicle rationing scheme would only have a limited impact on air pollution since a major source of the deadly cocktail of pollution was stubble burning.

“It would only reduce air pollution generated from local sources,” the chief minister told reporters. If there are only 15 lakh vehicles instead of 30 lakh on the roads, it would make a difference.

But the “main source” of air pollution in the national capital isn’t in Delhi, he said.

Kejriwal pointed to the spike in the air quality index - calculated on the basis of various parameters such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide - after October 10 to substantiate this point. Till October 9, the air quality was within satisfactory limits and then suddenly, it shot up to 200, 300 and so on.

The traffic rationing scheme prohibits plying of private vehicles based on the last digit of their registration numbers. Vehicles with even digits are only allowed to ply on even dates, and those with odd numbers on odd dates.

This was the third edition of the odd-even restrictions, a flagship scheme of the AAP government, on private vehicles in Delhi. The first two versions of the initiative were introduced in 2016.

Kejriwal’s assertion that the government did not want to needlessly impose the rationing scheme on people is a contrast to his stand earlier this week when he tweeted to the opposition to cooperate since people of Delhi were all for the odd-even scheme.

On Wednesday, Kejriwal had said the Delhi government was ready to extend the odd-even drive if pollution levels in the national capital continued to spike.