Delhi drops odd-even rule as NGT says it applies to all

Govt claims pollution levels have also come down

Delhi drops odd-even rule as NGT says it applies to all

The Delhi government on Saturday suspended its decision to implement the odd-even scheme for cars in Delhi from November 13 after the National Green Tribunal directed it to withdraw the exemptions granted to two-wheelers sand woman-only vehicles.

The government is not ready "to compromise with the safety of women" after the NGT ordered that there should be no exemption to anyone except emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire tenders, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said.

The scheme was to be implemented from November 13 to 17 in view of the high level of smog in the national capital and surrounding areas. The authorities have closed schools here till Sunday.

"We respect the NGT decision. Two conditions of NGT that two-wheelers and women cannot be exempted make it difficult to implement odd-even as we do not have adequate buses," Gahlot said.

"PM2.5 and PM10 levels have also come down. So, at the moment, we are calling it off. We will file a review application in NGT on Monday," the minister added.

The decision to call off the scheme was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at his residence and attended by ministers, including Gahlot, Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain.

In a special hearing on Saturday, the NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar gave only a conditional nod to the AAP government's decision to implement the odd-even car rationing scheme for five days saying no exemption should be allowed to "any person or officer and two-wheelers".

It also said that the odd-even scheme should be implemented "without any default" as and when PM (particulate matter) 10 level goes above 500 microgrammes per cubic metre and PM 2.5 level crosses the limit of 300 microgrammes per cubic metre during a span of 48 hours.

The tribunal said there should be no exemption to "any person or officer and two-wheelers" from the ambit and scope of the road rationing scheme and would be applied with equal vigour to all vehicles.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) told the bench that two-wheelers were more polluting than other vehicles, and emissions from motorbikes accounted for 20% of the total vehicular pollution. However, the tribunal exempted CNG vehicles, emergency services such as ambulance and fire, and vehicles carrying waste.

Earlier, an IIT-Kanpur study, which covered the period of 2013-14, has said that during winters, vehicles are the second largest and the "most consistent" contributing source of pollutants PM10 and PM2.5. It found that the share of trucks and two-wheelers stands at around 46% and 33% respectively.

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