Delhi to try out odd-even car formula from Jan. 1

From Jan 1, odd & even-numbered cars will ply in Delhi alternate days:

In a radical measure to curb the rising air pollution in the nation’s capital that has reached a critical level, the Delhi government on Friday announced that from January 1, 2016 it would allow private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers to ply only on alternate days, which has drawn widespread criticism but also support in some quarters. This order would not, however, apply to public transport vehicles.

There is no clarity yet on whether it would apply only to vehicles with Delhi number plates or those of neighbouring states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan as well. It was also not clear if it only applies to cars or to two-wheelers as well. An AAP leader claimed it would be done on a trial run basis for 15 days from January 1.

The Delhi government also plans to allow the movement of trucks within Delhi only after 11 pm at night, instead of 9 pm at present, to ensure smoother traffic movement as trucks slow down overall vehicular movement, which is a major contributing factor to vehicular emission pollution.

The Arvind Kejriwal government, devoid of any concrete plan to check the rising pollution and facing a scathing attack from the Delhi high court, which said Thursday life in Delhi was like “living in a gas chamber”, announced this step without giving any clear-cut idea of what alternative transport arrangements would be in place, leading to a barrage of criticism from citizens whose everyday life would get affected as well as from political parties and other organisations, who described it as “absurd” and “anti-people”. Most environmentalists, however, supported the move, saying drastic steps were necessary.

 10 things you need to know about the Delhi government’s new vehicle rules:

The decisions came a day after the Delhi High Court said that the national capital was like a gas chamber, and sought immediate action from the central and Delhi governments.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality of Delhi is said to be “very poor” with an air quality index of 331.

When air quality index ranges between 301 and 400, the air is said to cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.

Earlier measures apparently have not dented the increasing air pollution in Delhi, leading to major health issues.

In October, the National Green Tribunal announced an “Environment Tax” or “Green Tax” on commercial vehicles entering the city.

The Delhi High Court later ordered all private radio taxis to switch over to compressed natural gas (CNG) before March 1, 2016 if they desired to operate in the capital.

NGO Greenpeace warned recently that the indoor air in Delhi was five times more polluted than it should be according to Indian standards.

The WHO, however, says this is 11 times more than their prescribed level.

He said Government will carry out a massive plantation drive along all arterial roads across the city to curb spread of dust and ensure vacuum cleaning of roads by the Public Works Department from April 1.

The city government has also decided to make it mandatory for vehicles to have Euro VI standards for vehicular emission from 2017, two years before the Centre’s scheduled introduction of the same.

Sharma said public transport will be significantly augmented to take the load of increasing passengers due to the odd-even number restrictions.

He said that the proposal is in public domain and people can send their suggestions. “We will do nothing against your wishes. Your safety, life, health and your convenience is our top priority.”

The Delhi government on Friday had announced the odd-even formula to bring down pollution levels after the High Court called Delhi a ‘gas chamber’. The move received mixed reactions and experts were divided. However, the general concern was the lack of robust public transport.

To that, the government has announced introduction of a 1,000 new buses and increasing the number of trips. From January 1, odd-numbered vehicles will be allowed on odd dates, like January 1, 3 and 5, and even-numbered cars on even dates. On Sundays, all cars will be allowed. The system will not apply to public and commercial vehicles. In another ad, Mr. Kejriwal said that from April, Delhi’s roads will be vacuumed.

The Centre had decided to introduce Euro V and VI emission standards in vehicles in a phased manner. At present BS-IV auto fuels are being supplied in over 30 cities, including Delhi. The rest of the country has BS-III grade fuel.

Without offering concrete details on how it planned to bolster public transport for citizens who will no longer be able to use their personal transport on certain days, the city government went on a rhetorical spree. “Every year pollution levels increase in winter. For some time, odd and even numbered vehicles will run on alternate days. Alternate arrangements are being made to bolster public transport. DTC buses, Metro services will ply extra. We are still working out the modalities,” principal secretary K.K. Sharma said. While the government is supposed to fight pollution, it has also decided to shut down some parking lots. “We have also decided to shut MCD parking lots on roads that are responsible for slowing down traffic movement,” he said.

The Delhi government also intends to vacuum the “dust-generating roads and stretches”. This desperate measure comes a day after the Delhi high court observed that the current air pollution levels in the city reached “alarming” proportions, directing the Centre and the Delhi government to present comprehensive action plans to combat it.

 

The decision taken at a meeting headed by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will not apply to CNG-driven buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws and emergency vehicles but will cover automobiles entering Delhi from other states.

Officials say even-numbered cars will be allowed to run on even days and odd-numbered ones on odd days.

A committee comprising members of the environment department, traffic police, transport department and the divisional commissioner will decide how the policy will be implemented.

Till then, traffic police may get interim powers to penalise errant drivers under the new rule.

The sweeping move, like the one adopted by Beijing in 2008 ahead of the Olympics, will apply to a large bulk of nearly nine million vehicles registered in Delhi, which adds about 1,500 new vehicles to its roads every day.

The city’s vehicular population, which causes choking jams on all weekdays, includes about 2.7 million cars.

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