Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency could be the first city to emulate Odd-Even scheme of Delhi Government to combat air pollution. As the pollution level has been alarmingly severe in Varanasi for a long time, the city administration is brainstorming on a proposal of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) to implement Odd-Even scheme for vehicles in the holly city Varanasi, the hot spot of foreign tourists in India.
“The major constituents for air pollution in the city are vehicluar pollution and dust generated due to ongoing construction activities. We have recommended implementing Odd-Even scheme for vehicles to control emissions besides phasing out of older vehicles and city bus service,” said Ghyanshyam, Regional Officer (RTO), UPPCB in Varanasi.
“There have been several meetings on the issue and Regional Transport Officer has been directed to fine-tune the modalities for implementation,” added Ghyanshyam.
He further informed that recently a seminar of various stakeholders was organised in the city by district administration in which various NGOs working on environment issues had participated. According to the data with RTO, there are around 1.5 lakh vehicles in the city.
“The narrow roads in the city cause a huge traffic jam on daily basis but there is no scope for widening of these roads. Furthermore, the recently introduced e-rickshawas have added to the woes of already congested roads,” informed Ghyanshyam. Adding to the pollution of the city are different development projects including widening of Bhadohi Road, GT Road, Jaunpur Road, Ghazipur Road, construction of a new highway as bypass, and underground pipelines for cooking gas and cables.
“After becoming the constituency of the PM, there is a competition between Central and State governments in granting development projects to the city. But these things are temporary and will help in minimising air pollution in the long-term. The vehicular pollution is a major cause of worry,” added the officer.
The level of pollution in Varanasi on Monday was maximum in the country with average PM 2.5 level recorded at 438. PM 2.5 was above 400 continuously from Dec 22 to 25.