Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government on Thursday took a U-turn on the roll-out of its Odd-Even policy. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) within 24 hours of its assurance to roll-out the next round of odd-even policy without exemptions, has now filed a review petition at the National Green Tribunal (NGT), seeking exemptions again. Earlier, on Wednesday, the Delhi government’s counsel assured the NGT that it would bring the odd-even scheme as directed by the green court, which included no exemption for women drivers or two-wheelers. “The government wants to implement odd-even with exemptions. We have filed a review plea,” the Delhi government counsel said after the bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar asked its stand on the scheme.
Earlier in November, when the Delhi-NCR faced “severe-plus” or “emergency” air quality situation that calls for the implementation of the odd-even scheme under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), the NGT directed the Delhi government to implement the road rationing scheme without any exemptions for women drivers and two-wheelers.
Nonetheless, the matter will be heard on Friday. Observing that the air quality in Delhi and NCR was never “normal”, the Tribunal had earlier also directed the Delhi government and neighbouring states to spell out their action plans and how they would implement the GRAP, given the severity of the air quality.
The Delhi government’s plan recommends implementation of the odd-even plan, check on entry of trucks in the city, ban on construction work and asking parents not to allow their children to play outside when air quality turns “severe.” Notably, the main reason for an increase in pollution as cited by experts was stubble burning by farmers from Haryana and Punjab.
Meanwhile, Delhi’s air quality improved to ‘poor’, even as a toxic haze continued to envelop parts of the national capital with the atmosphere being laden with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and other pollutants. The city’s average Air Quality Index (AQI) was 282 on a scale of 500, classified as ‘poor’, marking a significant improvement from yesterday’s 378, which fell under the ‘very poor’ category. Since November 23, the air quality in Delhi had remained ‘very poor’, with toxic smog in the city disrupting normal life and even an international cricket match.
The smog in Delhi had cast a shadow on the India-Sri Lanka Test match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, with captain Dinesh Chandimal and his team wearing N95 anti- pollution masks to combat pollution on Day 2.