The Delhi government has called off the odd-even car rationing scheme that was supposed to be rolled out from Monday. The AAP government’s move came after the National Green Tribunal refused to exempt anyone from the regulations, including two-wheeler users and women.
Making the surprise announcement, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said: “Odd-even scheme from November 13-17 in the national capital has been called off in view of order by NGT which withdrew all exemptions except on plying of emergency vehicles.”
The minister said that the Delhi government “respected” the NGT’s decision, but it would be difficult to implement the programme without any exemptions, including to two-wheeler users and women.
Earlier, the government had announced exemptions for women drivers, two-wheelers and vehicles carrying children in school uniforms, besides VVIPs.
Underlining that safety of woman could not be compromised, the Minister said that the government would go back to the NGT on Monday to file a review.
He also noted that the levels of (particulate matter) PM2.5 and PM10, which had been in the severe category since Tuesday, have come down.
It needs to be noted that Delhi has over 60 lakh two-wheelers. If half of them are off the roads after imposition of odd-even, 30 lakh people would have to be accommodated in public transport, which is not possible.
The decision to call off the scheme was taken at a meeting chaired by Arvind Kejriwal and attended by ministers including Gahlot, Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar on Saturday ordered that there should be no exemption to “any person or officer and two-wheelers” from the ambit and scope of the road rationing scheme and would be applied with equal vigour to all vehicles.
Earlier on Friday, the green body came down heavily on the Delhi government saying, “The odd-even formula can’t be imposed like this. Nothing has been done from your end for the past one year.”
It said that “100 measures” have been suggested to curb pollution, “but you always opted for odd-even. Delhi government will have to justify the implementation of this scheme.”