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NGT again rejects Delhi govt’s plea for relaxations in odd-even scheme

When air pollution had turned severe for nearly seven days in November this year and the AAP government had proposed to roll out the road rationing measure, the NGT had refused to allow exemption to women, two-wheelers and government servants

delhi Updated: Dec 16, 2017 11:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Odd Even plan,Delhi pollution,Delhi govt
The Delhi government had proposed reintroduction of odd-even plan when pollution had touched severe in November. (HT FILE)

In a setback for the Delhi government, the National Green Tribunal on Friday dismissed the state government’s plea for exemptions, should the odd-even road rationing measure needs to be rolled out when air quality breaches the severe level in the national Capital.

“It cannot be disputed that emissions from two-wheelers are also a major source of pollution. The exemptions sought would defeat the entire purpose of improving the air quality of Delhi,” said a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swantanter Kumar before rejecting the plea.

When air pollution had turned severe for nearly seven days in November this year and the AAP government had proposed to roll out the road rationing measure, the NGT had refused to allow exemption to women, two-wheelers and government servants.

The government then backtracked on its proposal of rolling out the odd-even, citing women’s safety. It, however, filed a petition before the NGT to review the direction.

Earlier this month, when the NGT asked the government to clear its stand on odd-even, the government claimed that the car rationing scheme would be rolled out as per directions of the NGT. The following day, however, the government made a U-turn, saying that a petition has been filed to review the NGT’s earlier directions on odd-even.

“We had filed a plea before the NGT to review the pervious direction. It has been rejected. This means the government, if it wants to roll out the odd-even plan, will have to go ahead without any exemptions,” said Tarunvir Singh Khehar, the government’s counsel after Friday’s hearing.

The odd-even scheme was first implemented in the city in January and the second in April last year.The scheme to fight the Capital’s toxic air was largely inspired by the Beijing model, which was introduced ahead of the Summer Olympics in 2008.

The NGT was earlier informed by the CPCB and DPCC that nearly 30% of the vehicular emissions come from two-wheelers in Delhi. Of Delhi’s total vehicular population of over 10 million, two-wheelers constitute around 6.3 million.

“It is an undisputed fact before us that there are over 60 lakh two-wheelers in Delhi. The number also consists of two-wheelers which are very old and their emissions are beyond prescribed limits,” the NGT observed on Friday.

The bench instead questioned why the state government has failed to buy 2,000 buses as directed by the Supreme Court.

The tribunal had on December 6 slammed the AAP government and the neighbouring states over their action plan on ways to deal with severe air pollution in the city and directed them to file a detailed document to tackle the problem.

It had observed that air pollution was never at “normal level” in the national Capital and directed the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan to file the action plan afresh.

First Published: Dec 16, 2017 11:00 IST