Delhi pollution: Government calls off odd-even plan in NCR

Dense smog has resulted in very low visiblity in the city

After NGT's order, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting and decided not to go ahead with the third phase without exemptions, pointing to concerns over "women security" and "insufficient public transport". "This is not feasible to arrange such a large number of buses at this stage", a Delhi government statement said.

"In light of the two conditions by the NGT on 2-wheelers and women drivers, at the moment we are calling it off (the odd-even scheme)", Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot said.

"We will not allow it until you prove that it's not counter-productive", the NGT said.

Terming the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's decision as hasty, the tribunal said that the odd-even policy can not be arbitrarily imposed in the state. The move has been made to encourage use of public transport during Delhi's Odd-Even plan.

However, according to CNN-News 18 report, NGT said, "Small cars are not a serious contributor to pollution". Has odd-even been productive in reducing pollution level? "Tell us if the 500 new buses you are putting on the roads are diesel vehicles or CNG", the green court said. Were people taking DTC buses? In recent review by Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has only 4,180 buses.

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The AAP government had yesterday announced introduction of the odd-even scheme as part of a Graded Response Plan to tackle the alarming pollution situation in the national capital. "The publicity you gave to odd-even 2, did you give to destination buses too?" it had asked the Delhi government, referring to the non-stop buses launched earlier this year in a bid to encourage vehicle owners to travel by public transport. The tribunal added that the state government's objective and impact is clear, however, the way it has been implemented is ad-hoc.

Illegal crop stubble burning, vehicle exhaust and construction dust have been causing Delhi's pollution crisis every winter.

The tribunal said that "If we expose our children to this kind of air, we are committing the biggest sin".

The scheme, which had evoked major controversy in Delhi, had been tried in other cities of the world in the past, including Mexico, Paris, Bogota and Beijing.

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