Year after year as Delhi and the national capital region chokes due to deleterious effects of air pollution particularly in the month of November, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Authority will chalk out a plan for odd-even vehicle rationing scheme. The top court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) will now be preparing a manual for the implementation of the scheme. The manual will also work as a guide for the adjoining urban areas to the national capital. The prepared manual will also list the exemptions for the scheme. The authority has pointed out that firstly the public transport and parking facilities will have to be improved.
The decision was taken at a meeting which was held to review the actions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to curb the air pollution. The GRAP has an action plan to enforce the odd-even scheme, if air quality index deteriorates to “severe plus” levels. “Now air quality is between ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’. We hope to prepare a note soon, that will look at the best practices in controlling air pollution as followed in different parts of the world, including Paris and Beijing,” Sunita Narain, member, EPCA, told The Indian Express.
She added that a better forecasting system is needed, for which the committee will work with representatives from the Ministry of Science, India Meteorological Department and state governments.
Earlier this month, the AAP government had called off the odd-even car rationing scheme which was scheduled to be begin from November 13 after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave a conditional nod to the government’s decision to implement the scheme. “In light of the two conditions by NGT on two-wheelers and women, at the moment we are calling it off,” an AAP minister had then said.
The EPCA had pulled up the government for not properly implementing the GRAP measures. “The body also invited feedback from all agencies involved and suggested ways to reduce the time lag between the EPCA’s orders and its implementation, ” Polash Mukherjee of the Centre for Science and Environment said.
Later, the Delhi government moved again to the National Green Tribunal seeking modification of its November 11 order refusing to exempt women and two-wheelers from the odd-even car rationing scheme to tackle pollution. The application, filed before a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, sought exemption of women drivers from the scheme, saying it may affect the safety and security of women.