The Delhi government has called off the implementation of the odd even in Delhi. The decision comes in the wake of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordering the Arvind Kejriwal government to implement the odd-even scheme without any exemptions. The government had to take back its decision. It cites the huge burden on public transport as well as other socio-economic costs borne out of such an enforcement as reasons for the roll back.
According to most estimates, Delhi’s public transport system can’t bear the load of more commuters if bikes and two-wheelers are not exempted. “Over 32 lakh people travel by bikes in Delhi every day. If they aren’t exempted from odd even scheme, they will shift to public transportation system. The city’s public transport can’t take the load. We had to exempt them from odd even scheme,” said Arunodoy Prakash, who is the media adviser to Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi.
As per another TOI report over 32 lakh people travel by bus every day and that Delhi will require more than 10,000 buses to carry the load. More than 26 lakh commuters travel by the metro rail. Adding more commuters could lead to collapse of public transportation system in the national capital.
“What is the justification for exempting two-wheelers from the odd-even scheme? These are serious contributors to Delhi’s emissions, accounting for 46% of total air pollution,” the NGT has said. The NGT called the odd even scheme with exemptions a farce as the Arvind Kejriwal government had failed to provide relevant data to show the usefulness of the scheme from previous times it was implemented.
Earlier, Medha Patkar, noted environment activist, said that temporary steps or solutions like the odd even rule in Delhi can’t save the city from the deadly Delhi Smog that has enveloped it since the past few days.
“It [Delhi Smog] is not to be resolved just through any temporary formula, whether it is odd or whether it is even. Earlier also, the Delhi industries were thrown to Alwar and Delhi was saved. The lungs of Delhi like Vasant Kunj have been encroached upon,” says the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, also fondly known as Medha Tai. She was speaking to greenubuntu.com
Odd even in Delhi hasn’t yielded results before, says TERI
Moreover, according to a TERI study (The Energy and Resources Institute), the odd-even scheme had little impact on air pollution when it was implemented earlier. The TERI study said improvement in air quality for the earlier two periods when odd even in Delhi was implemented was 7% and 4%, respectively.
The odd even in Delhi has been implemented twice in 2016 when air pollution levels breached hazardous levels and was aimed at keeping half of the private cars in the national capital Delhi off the roads to reduce pollution from vehicular emissions. The NGT allowed the odd even traffic scheme as it is an urgent measure suggested by the Supreme Court of India-mandated body: Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA). The odd even rule is an emergency step to be used when air quality hits rock bottom. It is sanctioned under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) mandated by the Supreme Court.
The EPCA had asked states including Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to prepare for steps in view of the air pollution levels.
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