Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday announced that the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme will be implemented in the national Capital from November 4 to November 15, ANI reported.

The rationing system helps reduce traffic on the roads by prohibiting vehicles from plying based on the last digit of their registration numbers – vehicles with odd digits are not allowed on even dates and vice versa.

The chief minister also announced his seven-point action plan to tackle pollution because of crop burning, PTI reported. Kejriwal’s plan includes distribution of masks, mechanised sweeping of roads, tree plantation, and special plans for 12 pollution hot spots in the city.

Reacting to the announcement, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said the odd-even scheme was not needed. “The Ring Road we have built has significantly reduced pollution in the city and our planned schemes will free Delhi of pollution in the next two years,” Gadkari told ANI.

However, he added that the Delhi government was free to implement the odd-even scheme again if it wanted to.

The scheme, a part of the Graded Response Action Plan, was first implemented in 2016 in an effort to reduce dense smog in the city during winter. November to January are the most polluted months in the National Capital Region.

On Thursday, Kejriwal had met environment and sustainability experts to form a plan to tackle pollution this winter. The odd-even scheme and use of face masks were among the short-term measures that the experts called for, according to the Hindustan Times.

The Delhi government’s previous odd-even experiments to contain vehicular emissions had made little or no difference to air quality in the capital. Reports had claimed that peak pollution levels were either comparable or just slightly lower than the high levels earlier. This was not surprising, however, as the pollutants in Delhi are not just generated by vehicles but also from the surrounding industrial clusters, brick kilns and nearby thermal power projects.

Though the scheme in itself is not expected to make a big dent in the pollution levels, it will help to lower peak concentrations when the pollutants are at their worst level.

A study conducted in 2017 had showed that during the first phase of the odd-even scheme, in January 2016, there was a dip of only 2% to 3% in pollution levels. Only the areas of Najafgarh, Shalimar Bagh and Greater Kailash showed an 8% to 10% drop in pollution levels.

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