New Delhi: Uncertainty prevailed over the implementation of the odd-even car rationing scheme as the National Green Tribunal today questioned the rationale behind Delhi government’s decision to roll it out for five days next week, saying the scheme “cannot be imposed like this”.
The NGT questioned the basis for the AAP government’s decision pointing out that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have found that the levels of PM10 and PM2.5 were cumulatively higher when the scheme was implemented twice earlier.
“Odd-Even formula can’t be imposed like this. You can’t have a shock treatment like this. By this scheme, you are only encouraging people to buy more vehicles and allowing more inter-state traffic. We will not allow odd-even vehicle rationalisation scheme until you prove that it’s not counter- productive,” the bench said.
The NGT termed the plan a “farce” and asked the Delhi government to give an undertaking that it will roll out the scheme only when the particulate matter (PM) 2.5 was over 300.
“You are getting the tag of the worst capital in the world. The SC and NGT have suggested 100 measures to curb pollution, but you always opt for odd-even. Nothing has been done by the Delhi government in the past one year,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
It also quizzed the city government over its decision to introduce 500 buses during the odd-even week and directed it to clearly state how many of these vehicles ran on diesel.
The prevailing level of PM2.5 in the capital was hovering around 433 microgrammes per cubic metre, while PM10 stood at around 617, as per the latest CPCB data.
The bench also directed the city government to submit the comparative ratio of emission caused by diesel and petrol vehicles and asked it to clearly enumerate the contribution of small petrol cars in pollution.
It also questioned the justification of exempting two- wheelers and women drivers during the odd-even scheme despite knowing that two-wheelers caused 46 per cent pollution, as per an IIT Kanpur report.
“We don’t want to stop your programmme. It is indeed a laudable project taken in the interest of the environment.But the manner in which it is being implemented is unscientific and inefficient,” it saiD.
The AAP government had announced introduction of the odd-even scheme as part of a Graded Response Plan to tackle the alarming pollution levels in the capital.
The city has been experiencing ‘severe’ air quality and has been reeling under a blanket of thick haze, as pollution levels breached permissible standards by multiple times.