Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Friday that there will be no odd-even restrictions on vehicles on November 11 and 12, PTI reported.
The road rationing system, an attempt to reduce traffic on the streets of the national Capital, is being implemented from November 4 to November 15 but may be extended if pollution levels remain high. It prohibits plying of vehicles based on the last digit of their registration numbers – vehicles with odd digits are only allowed to ply on odd days, and cars with even numbers on even days.
Kejriwal said at a press conference that the Delhi government decided to do away with the odd-even scheme on November 11 and 12 due to Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th birth anniversary falling on the second day. Kejriwal said people from the Sikh community had requested the Aam Aadmi Party-led government to relax the rules on the two days, IANS reported. The chief minister added that the decision was taken also to ensure that there were no communal disturbances on November 11 and 12. Women drivers are already exempted from the scheme.
The Air Quality Index in New Delhi stood at 335, in the “very poor” category, at 7.45 pm on Friday, according to the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research. An index reading between 0 to 50 is considered “good”, 50 to 100 “satisfactory”, 100 to 200 “moderate”, 200 to 300 “poor”, 300 to 400 “very poor” and 400 to 500 “severe”. On November 3, Delhi’s air quality had reached the worst level of the season, in the “severe-plus” category, with the Air Quality Index reading above 500.
The Supreme Court had earlier this week questioned the Delhi government’s move to go for the odd-even scheme, wondering whether it would reduce the air pollution in the national Capital. The court asked the Delhi government to produce evidence by Friday that the scheme has worked. It is not known whether the government has submitted such evidence to the court.
The Supreme Court also summoned Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev, saying authorities cannot allow a mass exodus of people afraid about severe pollution cutting down their life span.
On November 4, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijay Goel was fined Rs 4,000 for violating the odd-even scheme. Goel was sent home after he drove his odd-numbered SUV for barely 100 metres. Goel had painted his car saffron and written protest messages on it. He carried a placard that said “Odd-Even – A Political Stunt”. BJP Vice President Shyam Jaju and other party leaders also accompanied him.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police issued 454 challans on Thursday to drivers violating the scheme, IANS reported. On Wednesday, a total of 406 challans were issued.
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