The implication of odd-even car rationing scheme in Delhi to curb pollution has quite been a tennis match between the Delhi government and National Green Tribunal. In the latest update in the matter, the NGT rejected Kejriwal government's plea to excuse two-wheelers from the rule. The green court has said that any exemptions in the scheme would defeat the whole purpose behind the odd-even rule, which is meant to improve the ambient air quality in Delhi. According to NGT, Delhi has some 60 lakh two-wheelers plying its roads and they carry less number of passengers hence are more polluting since they comply with older emission norms. The court also maintained that the odd-even scheme is supposed to be based on the Air Quality Index (AQI), overlooking any kind of discrimination.
Last month, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal pushed for bringing back the odd-even rule in order to counter the smog blanketing Delhi and NCR region. The rule was not put in place as Delhi Government did not agree with NGT's order to implement the scheme without any exemptions.
The scheme, based on the last digit of a vehicle's registration number, was implemented twice in 2016 - from 1-15 January and 15-30 April. Under the scheme, odd and even numbered vehicles ply on alternate days.
The green panel also directed the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to introduce more buses in its fleet as per the Supreme Court order and strengthen the public transport system. The bench had earlier sought a "workable solution" from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan for combating the problem of pollution.
According to the rules specified last month, the scheme will not apply to emergency vehicles like PCR vans, fire brigade and ambulances, and public buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws will also not be affected. The government also plans to run more buses to provide a hassle-free experience for commuters and Delhi Metro will increase the frequency and number of carriages during this period.
If implemented, this will be the third time Delhi will see the implementation of the odd-even rule. Although the last two times yielded almost negligible results on the pollution front, daily commuters did certainly enjoy seeing less traffic on Delhi roads.