Delhi government has strongly defended its Odd-Even scheme of road rationing for private vehicles before the High Court. The ambitious scheme, which came into force on January 1 for 15 days trial period, could well be extended, hinted Delhi government counsel during the course of arguments. The High Court has now reserved its order on the batch of PILs filed against the scheme.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too hailed the Odd-Even scheme while speaking at a state government event in West Bengal claiming that the implementation has proved that AAP can “govern” and provide leadership to the people.
“…. lot of critics said this scheme is totally impossible. But now you can see that how successfully the scheme is running. Actually if you provide proper leadership, the people will act in a disciplined way. There is no doubt about it,” he said.
Meanwhile, defending the scheme before Delhi High Court, it argued that the pollution level in Delhi has showed a “consistent declining trend at peak hours due to implementation of odd-even vehicles scheme”.
“15 days are not enough; If needed we may have to go beyond that,” the Delhi government’s lawyer told the High Court.
Arguing before the court, the Delhi government told that particulate and nitrogen oxide load from cars have come down during Odd-Even scheme by as much as 40 per cent and higher share of pollution benefits have come from reduction in diesel cars.
But Delhi government’s claims were opposed by the petitioners who said the AAP government has carried out a pick and choose policy against car owners whereas 46 per cent pollution is caused by trucks.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Delhi HC had questioned the scheme asking if it could be restricted to just a week as there is a lack of sufficient public transport to ferry people. The division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath had said that the scheme was causing inconvenience to a large section of society besides terming the government’s status report on the scheme as “vague”.
“Aren’t these six days enough for you? We have permitted the government to run this scheme for one week during which they must have collected data relating to pollution levels in the city,” the Delhi HC bench had observed on Wednesday.
The court had further sought information about the pollution caused by taxis running on diesel and CNG which have been kept out of the purview of the odd-even formula and the data related to changes in the pollution level between January 1 and 7.
The Delhi High Court’s direction came on a batch of petitions filed by various individuals including lawyers who have challenged the AAP government’s move. Among the contentions raised by the petitioners included imposing fine of Rs 2,000 on the violators and exemptions granted to two-wheelers and women drivers.
(With inputs from the PTI)