New Delhi, Nov 13: This winter, Delhi is badly struggling to tackle with an unprecedented rise in the level of air pollution. Living in the national capital has almost become hellish as poor air quality is choking the residents to death, literally.
In such an emergency situation when the Delhi's ruling government Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) wanted to bring back the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme to help reduce the pollution level to some extent, from social media to the country's top green court, National Green Tribunal (NGT), questioned the rationale behind the idea.
Thus, the AAP government, which was supposed to implement the scheme by allowing vehicles with registration number ending with an even number on roads on even dates while those ending with an odd number on odd dates beginning from Monday to Friday (November 13-November 17) for a period of five days, has decided to cancel its plan for the time being.
While criticism against the odd-even formula is sharp and strong from several quarters, many experts still feel that the AAP's plan to control vehicular pollution should be allowed to implement in Delhi throughout the winter, when air pollution turns worst.
"Delhi's AAP government has done well to experiment with an odd-and-even number plate scheme, which ought to be extended through the winter," writes Darryl D'Monte, chairman emeritus, Forum of Environmental Journalists in India (FEJI), for The Indian Express.
"It is a no-brainer that the pollution caused by private vehicles, whether they are four- or two-wheelers, can be curbed by restricting their numbers, as Beijing and other Chinese cities have done successfully even as public transport is greatly increased.
"Shanghai, for instance, has emulated Singapore's example of setting a limit on the number of cars permitted on its roads; Singapore allows market forces to decide the price of such a license, which can exceed the cost of a car sometimes. Parking fees ought to be drastically increased, and payable even at night time. And, following London's example, the proceeds should be plowed back into bettering the bus service," he adds.
The environmental activist and writer stressed that "with India going on a transport infrastructure spree, including in cities, there ought to be a clear discouragement of private motorised transport in favour of public transport."
On Monday, the Delhi government is expected to file a review petition in the NGT asking the green court to take a relook at exemptions for both women and two-wheelers.
A day after the NGT criticised the move to bring back the odd-even formula, on Saturday the top green court gave a go-ahead to the vehicle rationing scheme minus the exemptions given to two-wheelers, government servants, and women drivers.