Delhi air pollution: Govt says ready for third round of odd-even drive
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the government is prepared to take the three steps as prescribed in the Graded Response Action Plan if the air quality crosses 500 mark.Updated: Nov 09, 2017 10:45 IST
Hours after the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) asked the governments of Delhi and neighbouring states to prepare for road rationing if pollution levels touch the emergency threshold, the Delhi government said it was be prepared for third round of odd-even drive.
The government said it is prepared to take the three steps as prescribed in the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) if the air quality crosses 500 mark, which is considered the ‘emergency’ or ‘severe+’ category.
“If need be, we are also prepared for GRAP. First, entry of trucks into Delhi would be banned when air quality enters the danger zone. Then, all construction activities will be banned and finally, odd-even drive will be rolled out,” said deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
On Wednesday, Delhi air quality hit 463, which is worse than what it was a day after Diwali in October when the AQI had touched 403. Severe pollution levels could persist for the next two to three days.
Extra buses arranged
Explaining the measures being taken to ensure the drive is carried out smoothly, transport minister Kailash Gahlot told Hindustan Times that the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has decided to hire private buses in addition to its existing fleet of 3,591 buses.
“The DTC is prepared to take the load of additional passengers if the car rationing drive is introduced. Private transporters have agreed to give the corporation buses during the days of the scheme,” he said.
Earlier, the DTC found it tough to convince transporters as they rued the uncertainty of the drive’s duration. “During previous odd-even also, we had taken buses from schools, and passengers had defaced them. This time when we asked private transporters, they refused to lend us buses as we do not have clarity over the number of days for which the scheme stay,” an official said.
However, a few of them have agreed to give buses and talks with a few more agencies are on, the official said.
Odd-even not a permanent solution
The transport minister, however, highlighted that the government considers the odd-even drive only as “an emergency measure” and that it is “not a permanent solution”.
“We must identify the primary causes of pollution. Transport just has a small contribution to foul air,” Gahlot said.
He further added that the contribution to particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and 10 in Delhi, at present, is majorly from crop burning in neighbouring states such as Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.