The National Green Tribunal on Saturday approved the Delhi government’s plan to implement the odd-even scheme in the city from November 13 to November 17 in an effort to combat the rising pollution levels in the Capital, ANI reported. On Friday, the panel had barred the Aam Aadmi Party-led government in Delhi from implementing the scheme till it proved that the measure would work.
The 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. Only vehicles carrying solid waste, fire brigades, ambulances and emergency repair vehicles will be exempted from the plan. Government vehicles, two-wheelers and women will have to follow the rule this time.
During the special hearing convened for the matter, the panel headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Delhi government to explain its rationale behind implementing the scheme and questioned why no action was taken earlier. It said the odd-even formula can be implemented in the National Capital Region whenever particulate matter PM 10 crosses 500 and PM 2.5 crosses 300 on the air quality index.
The green panel also advised against measures such as bringing in a fourfold increase in parking fees, recommended by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority. “Won’t increasing parking fees only benefit parking lots and cause further stress, thereby encouraging people to park vehicles on the roads instead, choking them in the process?” it asked.
The panel also asked the Delhi government whether Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s approval was taken to implement the odd-even scheme. It also rebuked the the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Delhi government for neither coordinating well, nor agreeing on the data they presented.
Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department said the air quality in Delhi will improve from Saturday. They expect the wind speed to pick up and help disperse the pollutants.
“We expect wind speed of 19-20 kilometres per hour from Saturday afternoon,” an IMD official was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. “The temperature is not expected to be too low either, and we expect a marked improvement in air quality starting Saturday.”