NGT scraps exemptions... Delhi govt drops Odd-Even
NEW DELHI: Hours after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave its go-ahead to the odd-even scheme — but with no exemptions for two-wheelers, women and Government vehicles — the Delhi government refused to implement it, saying it will approach the green court again on Monday. "At the moment we are calling it (the odd-even scheme) off. We will again approach the NGT and ask them to allow exemptions to women and two-wheelers," Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said here.
The decision to call off the scheme was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and attended by his ministers, including Gahlot, Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain. Senior Delhi government officials, including the Chief Secretary, too, were present at the meeting held at Kejriwal's residence. Earlier last week, the Delhi government had announced the implementation of the odd-even scheme from November 13 to 17.
The NGT ruled that only emergency vehicles such as ambulances and MCD garbage vans and fire brigade vehicles would be exempted. "The odd-even scheme will go on. No exemption of any kind to any one, including two-wheelers, women, public officers or politicians, except essential services. Odd-even will come in force by default in future in case Delhi's air quality gets severe," said NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.
The road rationing scheme was supposed to be implemented from November 13 to 17 as suggested by the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) and specified under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), after Delhi's air quality went "beyond severe".
Stating that the Delhi the government could not compromise on the safety of women, Gahlot added that the city government also did not have enough buses or alternatives in the public transport system to accommodate over 60 lakh two-wheeler riders. "We can't compromise with the safety and security of women ... the government is concerned about it," Gahlot said.
Earlier in the day, the NGT gave the go-ahead to the Delhi government for implementation of the odd-even scheme but with no exemption for two-wheelers, women and VIPs.
While the Delhi government counsel asked the Tribunal if it should drop the idea of odd-even as Delhi's air quality was improving, the Tribunal asked the government to take a call, saying: "We are not going to give you shelter on this one. Take a decision yourself."