Delhi govt gets green signal from NGT for odd even, but conditions applied

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After health emergency being declared in the national capital and the National Green Tribunal slashing down on the Delhi, Punjab and Haryana government for not taking precautionaries measures to fight the pollution problem increasing in the state, the Aam Aadmi Party on Friday had announced multiple measures.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also announced that the odd and even scheme will be implemented in the NCR region for five days from 13 Nov giving exemptions to women and two-wheelers.

The NGT today, heard the case regarding the implementation of the odd and even scheme starting from 13 Nov. The Tribunal questioned the rationale behind Delhi government’s decision to curb the rising smog problem in the national capital and surrounding areas and said that the scheme cannot be implemented just like that.

The National Green Tribunal on Friday attacking the Kejriwal government had said that By this scheme, you are only encouraging people to buy more vehicles and allowing more inter-state traffic. We will not allow odd-even vehicle rationalization scheme until you prove that it’s not counter-productive.”

During the hearing, the bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar reprimanded the Chief Minister saying that despite the Supreme court and NGT suggesting a hundred measures to curb the pollution problem, the only option that the AAP government could think of was the odd-even scheme. He also came down heavily on Arvind Kejriwal saying that “You are getting the tag of the worst capital in the world and nothing has been done by the Delhi government in the past one year.”

The bench also questioned whether the scheme was being implemented with the consent of both the Lieutenant Governor and Delhi government? Scolding the Chief Minister, the NGT also asked that why had the scheme not been implemented earlier, when the air quality was worse?

The bench also took down on Kejriwal questioning his decision of exempting the women and the two-wheelers from the scheme. The NGT said “What is the basis of granting exemptions under the scheme, if you plan to improve the ambient air quality? Why give exemptions to anyone?”

The AAP government yesterday had also announced a four-fold hike in the parking prices in order to discourage people from using private vehicles and move towards using metros. Taking a dig at the government on this announcement also, the NGT remarked that Measures like enhanced parking fees, as suggested by the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), to decrease pollution are absolutely absurd.”

After giving an ear to the arguments presented by the AAP government, the NGT permitted the government to implement the scheme for days starting from 13 Nov, but with the subject to the conditions agreed upon, of not giving exemption to the women and two-wheelers.  The bench further added that CNG vehicles, emergency services such as ambulance and fire brigade will be given exception to the odd and even scheme.

The NGT also said that “Implement odd-even scheme when PM-10 level is above 500 micrograms per cubic metre and PM-2.5 above 300 micrograms per cubic metre.”

During the hearing, the NGT also slashed down on the highway authority NHAI and National Buildings Construction Corporation (India) and issued a notice to them seeking the reason that why the exemplary cost should not be imposed on them for disobeying the orders and not stopping all construction activities.

Following the hearing, the Delhi government called for an emergency meeting to discuss the implementation of the odd and even scheme form 13 Nov, following the conditions stated by the NGT.

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