In a major setback to the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in New Delhi, the National Green Tribunal on Friday barred it from implementing the odd-even scheme till it proves that the measure would be useful, News18 reported.
The Delhi government had announced on Thursday that it will implement its odd-even policy for vehicles from November 13 to November 17 in an effort to reduce the dense smog that has enveloped the Capital since Tuesday.
If the government cannot prove that the scheme has reduced pollution, the National Green Tribunal said it will stay the move. The tribunal will continue hearing the matter on Saturday.
The tribunal added that the government should have introduced this scheme earlier if it had wanted to, according to ANI. “When situation is improving, the government is trying to implement it...This will now inconvenience people,” it said.
The odd-even scheme helps cut traffic on the roads by prohibiting cars and bikes from plying based on the last digit of their registration numbers – vehicles with odd digits ply on odd dates, the others are allowed on even dates. The Arvind Kejriwal government has implemented it twice in 2016, once from January 1 to January 15, and between April 15 and April 30.
The tribunal told the Aam Aadmi Party government on Friday that the Supreme Court had not specifically asked it to implement the odd-even scheme. The court had suggested a hundred measures and asked the government to implement them, it said.
“You haven’t implemented 99 measures, but want just one,” said the bench. “You had one year to prepare, but you did nothing. This is irresponsible attitude.”
“How many builders have you caught? What is being done to stop construction activity? Odd-even formula can’t be imposed like this,” the tribunal told the government. Red lights that were ordered to fixed still haven’t been, it said, adding that it leads to traffic congestion. “This case is more important than any other...If we expose our children to this kind of air, we are committing the biggest sin.”
The National Green Tribunal also reprimanded the Punjab government for not tackling the menace of crop burning. “Tell us what is being done on crop burning or be prepared to face strict punishment,” it said.