Delhi pollution: L-G Baijal will okay odd-even if NGT clears it
The National Green Tribunal was critical of the Delhi government’s car-rationing scheme, calling it a farce, and said it could not be implemented without its approval.Breathe Delhi Updated: Nov 11, 2017 08:58 IST
Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal on Friday gave his nod for the government’s odd-even scheme, with a rider.
Baijal approved the car-rationing scheme on condition that it was okayed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) too.
On Thursday, soon after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal decided to bring back the odd-even scheme, the file was sent to Baijal for his approval. He returned the file the next day saying, “Approved, subject to the NGT order, if any,” sources said.
Earlier in the day, the NGT termed the Delhi government’s odd-even road rationing plan a “farce”, and said the scheme cannot be implemented from next week without its permission.
However, despite the uncertainty, the government held a series of meetings to ensure proper arrangements for the drive. Transport minister Kailash Gahlot, who is at the helm of the drive, chaired back-to-back meetings.
Free bus rides
The minister announced that the government will allow free travel for commuters in all Delhi Transport Corporation and cluster buses from November 13-17. Also, 50% of the seats in all DTC buses will be reserved for women during the drive.
“The free bus ride will cost the government around Rs 15 crore for five days. DTC and DIMTS won’t have to bear the loss as the amount will be reimbursed to them,” an official said.
The corporation has arranged 500 private buses, under ‘Paryavaran Bus Seva’, and each of them will have marshals for passenger safety. “Sufficient number of traffic supervisory staff and timekeepers will be deputed to help the commuters. DTC helpline No.41400400 & 1800118181 will be functional round the clock during odd-even scheme for any kind of help,” said DTC spokesperson Aradhna.
Cab aggregators Ola and Uber met Gahlot on Friday and maintained that they would suspend dynamic pricing during the five days.
While Uber had already announced the move on Thursday and also offered cheaper cab rides to and from metro stations, Ola jumped into the fray on Friday.
Civil defence volunteers
Another meeting with district magistrates was convened by Gahlot where he directed them to give challaning powers to ‘kanungos’ or lower ranked revenue officers.
Around 5,000 volunteers will be deployed and the divisional commissioners have been asked to set up control centres.
Aerial water sprinkling
Delhi environment minister Imran Hussain on Friday said the government has approached helicopter service operator, Pawan Hans Limited, for aerial water sprinkling to curb pollution in the city.
“Delhi government is in talks with Pawan Hans for aerial sprinkling of water over the city to bring down particulate matter,” the minister tweeted.
Pawan Hans, in a letter to Sharvan Bagaria — secretary to Delhi environment minister — sought time from the minister saying the exercise will require comprehensive feasibility study and approvals from DGCA, AAI, defence and Delhi administration.
The company is set to meet the minister and other environment department officials on Saturday.
The company also suggested setting up a Joint Working Group of Delhi administration and Pawan Hans team to work out the proposal. It also said that a SOP (standard operating procedure) should be developed for carrying out the exercise over the city as the national capital has areas of no-flying zones.