Delhi may return to odd-even scheme

Delhi may return  to odd-even scheme
The Delhi government is mulling a return to the odd-even scheme of reining in the number of cars on streets to tackle burgeoning pollution in the national capital.

Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot wrote to Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) on Wednesday asking them to be prepared for implementing the odd-even scheme as the city administration is planning emergency measures to address the issue of pollution.

As per the programme, odd and even numbered vehicles ply on alternate days. It was implemented twice - from January 1-15 and April 15-30 last year.

Gahlot asked the DTC to be "fully geared up" for its implementation "as and when" it is announced. "With the increase in pollution levels in Delhi, the government may have to resort to emergency measures, including the odd-even scheme," the minister said.

The minister said procurement of more buses would be the "main component" of DTC's readiness in case the scheme is announced. Last time, the programme had invited criticism from several quarters as people faced trouble in commuting as the public transport system was not up to the mark. This time, too, the challenges remain.

Also, experts said the odd-even scheme was only a small step in controlling pollution and the government should follow up with more strong steps.

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) last week said they would enforce plans like 'odd-even', order cars off roads and shut schools if needed to tackle pollution.

EPCA is a body empowered to enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), which was notified in January following an order of the Supreme Court.

The EPCA has already ordered shutting the Badarpur Thermal Power Plant and brick kilns, and banning diesel generators in the city after air pollution levels hit the 'Very Poor' and 'Severe' categories during Deepavali.

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