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Odd-even scheme could be back on Delhi roads as air quality remains ‘very poor’

The Delhi government is looking at bringing back the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme, but will do so with the Environmental Pollution Authority’s direction.

delhi Updated: Oct 27, 2017 09:27 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Odd Even,Delhi air pollution,Air quality
Traffic smoothly runs at ITO during the last day of odd-even in the National Capital in New Delhi, on April 30, 2016. (HT File Photo)

With the national Capital reeling under ‘very poor’ air over the past two days, the Delhi government has set the wheels in motion to bring in the road rationing scheme, where odd and even numbered vehicles ply on alternate days, as an “emergency measure”.

Having conducted the ‘odd-even drive’ twice before, the Aam Aadmi Party government said this time it would rather wait for directions from the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority to announce it the third time. “Introducing odd-even scheme needs prior planning. I have asked the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to submit an action plan for augmenting frequency of buses in a week’s time,” Kailash Gahlot, the city’s transport minister told Hindustan Times.

Under the Supreme Court mandated action plan against pollution that is currently in place, if suspended particulate matters remain above 300 or 500 micrograms per cubic metre then air pollution is to be declared as ‘severe+’. If the situation persists for 48 hours, then the city administration is supposed to introduce the odd-even arrangement and ban construction activities as well as the entry of trucks.

Last year, there was just one day, November 6, when the air quality index had hit ‘severe+’. So far this year, Delhi hasn’t seen similar air pollution levels

He warned cab aggregators against imposing surge pricing in case odd-even scheme is implemented and also directed the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to increase metro frequency.

Post the metro fare hike, the need for buses in the city assumes all the more importance as with 3951 buses, DTC’s fleet is currently at an all time low against its mandated strength of 5,500. During the first odd-even drive, held from January 1 to 15 last year, the government had to extend winter break in schools as it used their buses for public transport.

First Published: Oct 27, 2017 09:15 IST