Govt to inform NGT today on exemptions for odd-even plan
In November, Delhi government scrapped plans to enforce odd-even after the NGT refused to exempt woman drivers, two-wheelers and government officials from its ambit.delhi Updated: Dec 06, 2017 23:09 IST
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked the Delhi government on Wednesday to tell it within 24 hours if it would enforce the odd-even car rationing system with or without exemptions should the city’s air quality dip to severe again.
The tribunal’s order follows the government’s assurance to implement the odd-even formula to reduce air pollution in the national capital.
“Are you sure you won’t grant any exemption when odd-even is implemented. Let’s be clear about it. Please tell us whether you will exclude two-wheelers or not?” the NGT asked.
In November, the government scrapped plans to enforce odd-even after the NGT refused to exempt woman drivers, two-wheelers and government officials from its ambit. The tribunal said the system cannot be implemented with exemptions.
The Delhi government tested the odd-even formula for two separate fortnights in 2016. The system designed to reduce pollution allows vehicles to ply on odd and even dates based on the last number of their licence plates.
The mechanism is supposed to kick in as part of a “graded response system”, which the Supreme Court cleared last December, whenever the city’s air quality dips to severe levels.
But that hasn’t happened when the city was engulfed by a thick toxic haze after Diwali, prompting the NGT to seek an explanation from the government over measures taken to clean up the air.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the Delhi chief secretary to hold a meeting with the special secretary to the state environment department and the government counsel. “Have as many people as you want. You should also have all the commissioners. Tell us what steps you are going to take when pollution levels deteriorate from one category to the next. We will take up the matter tomorrow,” the bench said.
The directive came after the tribunal rapped the Delhi government on Monday for failing to file its plan to combat air pollution, though UP and Haryana had submitted theirs. Delhi submitted its plan on Wednesday but the tribunal was not happy as it failed to specify measures that would automatically kick in at different levels of pollution.
Tarunvir Singh Khehar, the government’s counsel, informed the tribunal that at least 14 measures, including the odd-even system, would be enforced. The bench directed the government to “use your own expertise”.