Exempt us from Odd-Even rule…: MPs across the aisles

Rajat Kain

Rajya-Sabha-genMembers of the Upper House raised apprehensions over Delhi government’s road-rationing scheme, popularly known as Odd-Even rule, strongly seeking exemption for the Members of Parliament, at least when the session is in operation. As per the rule, in force from April 15 to April 30, private cars with licence plate numbers ending with an even digit are allowed to ply on even dates and the odd-number ones on odd dates.

Although Delhi government launched MP Special Bus Service to ferry the Parliamentarians, there were very few takers of the special fleet on the first day of second leg of the Budget session.

Some MPs were also challaned for violating the rule, including actor-politician Paresh Rawal.

Taking up the issue, Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agrawal said, “MPs get just one access pass for their vehicle and we have no other alternate way to enter this house to attend the proceedings and discharge our duties”.

Flaying Delhi government, Agrawal added “There are several exemption categories but Delhi government has deliberately not exempted MPs in order to insult them… several committee meetings were postponed off-late as MPs couldn’t participate in the meetings” due to non-availability of vehicle with requisite number plate.

“Wonder why this government is silent? Why is the Union Home minister silent? It is serious issue,” he said.

Acknowledging Agrawal’s contention, Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien said, “I think members have a real problem here, other members have also complaint about it…”

“Majority of MPs are not from Delhi… Parliament doesn’t have adequate vehicles to ferry the 750 members. It is coming in the way of discharging their duties… For the days when the house in session, something should be done,”senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said seconding Naresh Agrawal.

“We urge the government to take a call… This issue needs to be addressed because it will now happen in every session,” Sharma added.

Responding to the calls of intervention from the treasury bench, government assured the members of Upper House that they will work out the way.

“We will take up the matters with appropriate authorities and make sure that honourable MPs are not obstructed from discharging their duties,” MoS Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

“Lot many members telephoned me that they are facing difficulty reaching Parliament due to this rule… At least during the parliament session is on, MPs should be exempted from this rule,” Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad suggested.

Earlier on Monday, DTC’s MP Special Bus Service, launched by the Delhi government to ferry lawmakers to Parliament, found very few takers. The ‘MP Special’ buses ply from 9 AM to 11 AM and 5.30 PM to 8 PM.

The President, the Vice-President, the Prime Ministers, the Chief Justice of India, judges of the Supreme Court and High courts, women among others are exempted under the ambitious Odd-Even rule.