Delhi smog: NGT gives nod to Odd-Even scheme, no exemption for 2 wheelers

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Odd-even Scheme : NGT gives nod with no exemptions to 2 wheelers

The National Green Tribunal (NGT), despite its apprehensions, gave its nod to the odd-even scheme. The formula will be implemented in Delhi-NCR whenever PM 10 crosses 500 and PM 2.5 cross 300.

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The tribunal, while giving the green signal to the odd-even scheme, questioned the city government as to why it was granting exemptions to certain sections if the aim was to improve air quality.

NGT observed that its patience shouldn't be tested, asking the Delhi government that when the statistics have indicated that rain leads to a fall in pollution levels, why wasn't action taken? It's now being taken after the Tribunal said so.

The court banned all exemptions granted under the Odd-Even scheme - including two-wheelers, government officials and women.

CNG vehicles and emergency services, such as ambulance and fire, will get an exemption from the odd-even scheme, it added.

NGT asked Delhi government to show the letter on basis of which this decision was taken, and whether the LG's approval was taken for the same. The tribunal also sought the Delhi government to state how many times does a person breathe in a day. "It is most worrying that there is absolute non-cooperation between various departments of govt," it said.

The tribunal also directed the state government to implement the car rationing scheme in the national capital and adjoining areas as and when the pollution level crosses the 'danger' mark.

Observing that diesel vehicles older than 10 years and petrol vehicles older than 15 years are playing through all main roads, the NGT asked the Traffic Police to deploy its personnel at traffic lights.

Meanwhile, Central Pollution Control Board submitted that they had warned the Delhi government orally in advance about the impending problem, which the Delhi government denied. It also informed the court that two-wheelers cause more pollution compared to four-wheelers.

It directed all the neighbouring state governments and departments to ensure complete mechanism during an environmental emergency. "Don't wait for a crisis situation," said the body.

On parking fee, the NGT said that the measures like the increased parking fees, which were recommended by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) are absurd.

"Won't the hike of parking fees only benefit the parking lots, and would stress people even further, thereby encouraging them to park vehicles on the roads instead, choking them in the process?" it asked the Delhi government.

The National Green Tribunal asked the Uttar Pradesh government over the number of violators challaned in Noida and Greater Noida in the wake of rising pollution level in adjoining states of Delhi.

The bench also issued notices to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to show cause why exemplary cost should not be imposed on them for violation of its order putting a ban on construction activities.

According to the Met department, humidity levels in the national capital shot up to 91 percent this morning.

On Thursday, the city government had announced the odd-even plan to be implemented from November 13 to 17. The odd-even rule will mean that cars running with number plates ending in even numbers like 0,2,4,6,8 will be allowed to run on days that end with an even number. On days with an odd number, cars ending with odd numbers like 1,3,5,7,9 will be allowed to run.

The NGT pointed to data from the central and Delhi pollution control boards which showed that both PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels were higher after odd-even was implemented in the city last year.

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