NGT asks Delhi govt not to implement odd-even scheme unless it’s effective

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: A man covers his nose with a handkerchief to protect himself from heavy smog and air pollution while cycling on the road near India Gate, in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

New Delhi: A man covers his nose with a handkerchief to protect himself from heavy smog and air pollution while cycling on the road near India Gate, in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday rapped the Delhi government’s decision to roll out odd-even car rationing scheme for five days starting from November 13.

The tribunal asked the state government not to implement the scheme unless it is able to prove that the scheme was effective in bringing down the pollution in the city.

The tribunal pulled up the state government for announcing the car rationing scheme even when pollution control bodies had told it that the scheme which was implemented the last time, had no impact on particulate matter in the air.

Last year in April, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had told the NGT that there was no data to suggest that the odd-even scheme has led to a decline in vehicular pollution in Delhi-NCR. The pollution monitoring body had said that the car rationing scheme implemented by the Delhi government had not had any impact in decreasing vehicular pollution. It said that the fluctuations in PM10 and PM2.5 were because of weather change and change in wind patterns.

Air-PollutionThe NGT asked the state government to give an undertaking saying that it will roll out odd-even only when particulate matter levels are over 300.

The panel also questioned the state government why it had exempted two-wheelers and women in the odd-even scheme.

On Thursday, the AAP government decided to re-introduce the odd-even vehicle scheme as part of a Graded Response Plan to tackle the poor air quality in the national capital. The scheme tries to half the vehicles plying on the road on a given day, by allowing only the odd number-plate vehicles or the even number-plate vehicles to ply.

The NGT has also allowed industries engaged in essential services to operate in Delhi-NCR on the condition that they would not pollute.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had earlier directed the Delhi government to submit before it the details of the ambient air quality during the earlier implementation of the odd-even scheme.

A medical emergency was declared in the National Capital Region (NCR) after pollution levels reached ten times the safe limit proposed by the World Health Organisation.

NCR has been experiencing ‘severe’ air pollution for the past week and pollution control agencies have been asked to take immediate measure to improve the situation.

(With inputs from PTI)