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Delhi air pollution: NGT calls odd-even drive a ‘farce’, tells govt no roll-out without its nod

After severe pollution in Delhi for four days, Arvind Kejriwal government decided to roll out odd-even road rationing plan from next week though forecast says the air may clear up by then.

delhi Updated: Nov 10, 2017 23:49 IST
Ritam Halder
Ritam Halder
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A civil defence volunteer promoting the second edition of odd-even scheme at ITO in New Delhi in April 2016.( Ravi Choudhary /HT File Photo)

The National Green Tribunal on Friday 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.

The tribunal is likely to decide on the matter in its next hearing at 11am on Saturday.

Arvind Kejriwal-led government announced on Thursday that the scheme, which allows private cars with odd and even registration numbers to ply only on alternate days, would be rolled out from November 13 to 17 in view of the rising pollution in Delhi. However, experts questioned the timing of the move, given that the air quality may improve by then, and pointed out that two earlier editions in 2016 had failed to alleviate pollution levels.

“Odd-even won’t be implemented without a green signal from us. We are not stopping it yet. Hearing on Saturday,” the tribunal directed.

“It is a farce. The publicity you gave to odd-even 2, did you give to destination buses too?” it asked the Delhi government, referring to the non-stop buses launched earlier this year in a bid to encourage car owners to travel by public transport.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Delhi government to provide details of the ambient air quality during the earlier implementation of the odd-even scheme. It also directed the government’s counsel to be ready with all the requisite data and reasons for implementing another edition of the same.

“Give us figures on how much cars contribute to the total air pollution of the city... also give us figures on how much one diesel-run heavy vehicle pollutes when compared to petrol cars. What is the contribution of small petrol cars in Delhi’s pollution,” the court asked the government.

On April 21 last year, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had told the NGT that there was no data to suggest that the odd-even scheme caused a decline in vehicular pollution in Delhi-NCR. Most fluctuations in PM10 and PM2.5 happen due to changes in weather and wind patterns, it added.

“Also, what is the justification for exempting two-wheelers from odd-even? These are a serious contributor to Delhi’s emissions, accounting for 46% of the total air pollution,” the NGT said.

The air quality in the national capital has deteriorated to ‘severe’ levels, and a blanket of thick haze enveloped the region as pollution levels breached permissible standards by multiple times.

First Published: Nov 10, 2017 15:27 IST