Will stop odd-even rule if people object: Kejri

Will stop odd-even rule if people object: Kejri

A day after the Delhi government took a bold decision of even-odd formula for private vehicles to curb pollution, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the government will stop it if it proves to be inconvenient for Delhiites.

“Many things need to be sorted out. Let’s try for few days, a week to 10 days. If there is much trouble, it will be stopped. Or will implement it 15 days later by learning from the experience. There are several options,” he said at the HT Leadership Summit.

With the Opposition parties questioning the practicability of the scheme as public transport is still not strengthened to meet the demand if people leave their cars at home, he said many things were yet to be thrashed out, including exemption for “certain” private vehicles.

“We thought when we will be prepared at that level (bus corridor), we will start imposing some kind of restrictions on private vehicles like cars. This emergency situation has come now, I think for its cooling down, if not anything else, at least for a few days cars will have to be removed from the streets.

The government had on Friday announced that private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers will be allowed only on alternate days on the roads from January 1, 2016, in a bid to tackle the rising pollution.

The chief minister conceded that his government had planned to introduce the scheme at a later stage after strengthening the public transport system but was forced to take the drastic step following “panic” in the wake of the Delhi High Court’s observation that the city has become a “gas chamber”.

“A sort of panic was created that the pollution has increased so much that something drastic has to be done,” Kejriwal said. He said he had thought of introducing such a measure only after taking a number of steps, including redesigning the roads, augmenting public transport by bringing at least 10,000 buses and constructing dedicated elevated roads for buses.

Seeking to assuage concerns, he said his government would not allow people to be inconvenienced. He said it was an in-principle decision and will be “thought through” for at least 20 days and that a committee of top officials has been appointed to work out details like exemptions in case of medical emergencies.

With the government struggling to add new buses to its existing fleet of  4,500, a transport official said that it would take at least six-seven months to procure new buses.
“Currently we only take out 92 per cent of our fleet and the rest is held reserved at various depots. If the decision is enforced, the least we can do is use all the buses,” he said.

Talking about initiatives taken by his government to tackle pollution, Kejriwal said vacuum cleaning on all PWD roads will begin from April 1 and grass will be planted on side kerbs and central verges of all the arterial roads to remove dust.

He said tenders will be floated very soon to procure vacuum cleaners from abroad as such machines are not available here. The chief minister said Euro 6 emission norms will be implemented in Delhi from 2017 as against Centre's plan to make it mandatory from 2019.

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