Odds are against ‘odd-even’
Apropos the thought-provoking editorial “Kejriwal’s 1% solution” (FE, December 25), it goes without saying that before going ahead with his ambitious plan of ‘odd-day-odd-car’ to curb pollution in the national capital, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal should spare a few minutes of his precious time to study the IIT-Kanpur report, the contents of which are now in public domain. The relevant data speaks volumes about the real causes behind the existing pollution problem that pervades the national capital of Delhi. It’s enormity could also be gauged from the some scathing observations recently made by the Delhi High Court, which had equated Delhi with virtual gas chambers. Mind you, this could have prompted the Delhi government to come out with this hasty “out of the box” idea. But for sure, the blue print of the proposed action plan—which now encompasses 25 exemptions—says all about the Delhi government’s unpreparedness in the matter. Let us not forget that the situation in New Delhi is at vast variance with those in various foreign countries where the concept was implemented and met with limited success only. Ironically, 2-wheelers, which account for 33% of city’s pollution, have been put in the exempted category. But all the private cars which contribute only 10% of total pollution have acquired the centre-stage of the raging controversy. Do all of them actually pollute? What about the other pollutants like road dust and construction-related activities, blatantly polluting industries and other diesel driven vehicles like trucks (causing 46% pollution) and other goods carriers, etc? Will mere imposition of some hefty fines on these trucks alone serve the real purpose? Of course, no. In fact, the first priority should have been to identify and severely punish the polluting vehicles which openly flout the prescribed emission norms here. However, it seems that the Delhi government is more interested in cracking down on private cars alone. Why single out and ‘demonise’ the private cars only even though most of them may not be polluting? The moot question is: Is our public transport system in a position to bear with the additional burden if cars are banned on certain days?
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