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National Green Tribunal stays odd-even scheme by Delhi govt

The National Green Tribunal, on Friday, questioned the rationale of introducing odd-even scheme by directing the Delhi government to submit data or studies on the basis of which it has planned to introduce the scheme for five days, starting next week. The green panel questioned the rationale of the AAP government in rolling out the scheme when reports by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had found that the levels of PM10 and PM2.5 were cumulatively higher when the scheme was implemented twice earlier.

The green tribunal termed the Delhi government’s odd-even scheme a “farce” and slammed the brakes on the road-rationing plan, saying the scheme cannot be implemented without its nod.

“The odd-even formula can’t be imposed like this. Nothing has been done from your end in the past one year,” the top environmental court said while rebuking the Delhi government.

The Delhi government had, on Thursday, announced that the scheme, which allows private cars with odd and even registration numbers to ply only on alternate days, will come into effect from November 13 to 17 in an attempt to tackle the lethal cocktail of pollutants that has enveloped the capital for the last few days.

On April 21 last year, the CPCB had told NGT there was no data to suggest that the odd-even scheme has led to a decline in vehicular pollution in Delhi-NCR.

Directing the city government not to implement the scheme unless it had established that it was not counter-productive, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked it to give an undertaking that it will roll out odd-even scheme only when particulate matter (PM) 2.5 was over 300.

The prevailing level of PM2.5 in the national capital is hovering around 433 micrograms per cubic metre, while PM10 stood at around 617 as per latest CPCB data.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also directed the city government to submit the comparative ratio of emission caused by diesel and petrol vehicles and asked it to clearly enumerate the contribution of small petrol cars in pollution.

It also questioned the justification of exempting two-wheelers and women drivers during the odd-even scheme despite knowing that two-wheelers cause 46 per cent pollution, as per an IIT Kanpur report.

Following a plea by the AAP government, the green panel, however, allowed the industries engaged in essential services to operate in the Delhi-NCR on the condition that they would not pollute and cause emissions. The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue on Saturday.

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