Green tribunal puts brakes on Delhi’s odd-even scheme

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

The green tribunal asked the govt to explain various queries such as how the scheme will be effective when data don’t show improvement in air quality during the earlier implementation of the scheme   -  Sushil Kumar Verma

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has put a momentary roadblock on the odd-even traffic rationing scheme announced by the Delhi government on Thursday. The decision by NGT caught everyone by surprise as the air quality in several parts of the city remained ‘very unhealthy’.

Asking the Delhi government to show efficacy of the scheme, the green tribunal said it would hear the matter on Saturday, despite it being a court holiday. The scheme cannot be implemented next week, unless the NGT gives the nod.

Action plan

The decision to halt the scheme, however, goes against the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for Delhi and NCR notified by the Centre in January this year following an order of the Supreme Court. According to the plan, hazardous air pollution levels — PM 2.5 over 300 µg/m3 and PM 10 over 10 µg/m3 — would immediately bring into force emergency actions, which includes odd-even car rationing scheme.

The air pollution levels in the city have been several times these levels since Diwali. Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) was “severe” at 468 on Friday — marginally better than Thursday (486) and Wednesday (478), though PM10 and PM2.5 levels have continued to be well above the hazard levels.

The green tribunal asked the government to explain various queries — how the scheme will be effective when data don’t show improvement in air quality during the earlier implementation of the scheme, why the scheme was not implemented immediately when the pollution levels exceeded the hazard levels, how many of the new buses would be diesel and what the pollution levels would be in comparison to petrol cars, why scooters are kept out of the ambit of the scheme and several others.

Hike in parking fees

Meanwhile, parking fees have also been hiked four times by three corporations of Delhi and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

This measure, too, however, comes late in the day and should have been implemented at the point when the air quality became “very poor” with PM2.5 level between 121-250 µg/m3 and PM10 between 351 and 430 µg/m3.

Published on November 10, 2017

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