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Published On: Sat, Nov 11th, 2017

After Green Court Criticism Delhi Government Scraps Odd-Even Plan

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delhi-smog-pti_650x400_71510306197NEW DELHI : The Arvind Kejriwal government scrapped its plan to implement the Odd-Even road rationing scheme from Monday which was meant to help reduce the noxious blanket of smog that has enveloped the city for the last six days. The government’s decision was announced after an emergency cabinet meeting following the blistering criticism by the National Green Tribunal.
Meanwhile , A Bench, headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar, said the orders have to be complied with strict rigour and was applicable to all vehicles. However, vehicles used for emergency services such as ambulances and fire brigades have been exempted from the scheme, which would would be complussory whenever the PM (particulate matter) 10 and 2.5 levels cross the 500 and 300 mark respectively.
“It shall be mandatory for NCT Delhi to implement the odd-even scheme under such conditions and will not be optional for any officer of the government to not comply” said the Bench. Following submissions by scientists from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on the reduction of pollutants after rain, the tribunal said, “Sprinkling of water shall be implemented without default in future and the coming week, if it does not rain in the next two days.”

The tribunal directed the Delhi government to reconsider its decision to increase the parking rates. “Creating undue burden on the common man is no solution to an environmental issue,” it said.  Earlier today, the NGT had given its nod to Delhi govt’s odd-even scheme to begin from November 13. However, it has clearly stated that no exemptions except emergency vehicles shall be made during the Odd-Even period.  Earlier there were 28 exemptions.
There is no exemption at all, Odd-Even will be implemented even on VIPs, only emergency vehicles will be exempted, Rajiv Bansal, Counselor for DDA said, adding that the highlight of the order is that Odd-Even will be implemented automatically if PM 10 level goes above 500 & PM 2.5 level goes above 300, which will be monitored for 48 hours.
– During the hearing, the  NGT observed that its patience shouldn’t be tested, asking the Delhi government that when the statistics have indicated that rain leads to a fall in pollution levels, why wasn’t action taken ? It’s now being taken after the Tribunal said so.
-So we should assume that the government is sure of the odd even scheme’s benefit, and of no inconvenience taking place to the citizens? it asked the AAP govt.
-The NGT has asked the AAP dispensation if odd-even car rationing scheme is being implemented with consent of both LG and Delhi govt.
-“Why didn’t you introduce odd-even scheme earlier when air quality was worse ?” it asked the Delhi govt.
-The green panel asked if the odd-even scheme is at the whim and thought of a particular officer or the Delhi govt as a whole?
-The NGT also  asked the Delhi government to show the letter on basis of which this decision was taken. and asked it to state how many times does a person breathe in a day.
-Central Pollution Control Board submitted that they had warned the Delhi government orally in advance about the impending problem, which the Delhi government denied.
-The National Green Tribunal observed “it is most worrying that there is absolute non cooperation between various departments of govt”
-NGT asked the Centre and the Delhi government to name a big city where PM 10 levels were lower than 100.
-NGT asked Delhi Govt about reasons behind exemptions and the impact of pollution emanating from two wheelers, and whether they intend to employ this scheme of Odd Even whenever the pollution levels spiral, to which the Delhi Govt stated that this couldn’t be said as of now.
-The National Green Tribunal asksedCPCB, DPCC and Delhi Govt “why didn’t you implement it earlier?
-NGT asked the Delhi government “Won’t the hike of parking fees only benefit the parking lots, and would stress people even further, thereby encouraging them to park vehicles on the roads instead, choking them in the process?” It has directed the govt to reconsider its decision on hiking the parking fees.
-NGT pulled up CMD of DTC for not reading the former judgements in this regard. NGT observed that it was unfortunate and asked DTC on the number of its unused buses in its workshops.
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-NGT asked the Traffic Police to deploy its personnel at traffic lights, observing that almost all the main roads in the city are witness to diesel vehicles which are older than 10 years and petrol vehicles which are older than 15 years. (With Agency Inputs ).

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