Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Only emergency vehicles to get exemption in odd-even scheme

Only emergency vehicles to get exemption in odd-even scheme

In a plea filed to the NGT, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government sought changes in the tribunal's previous directions which rejected most exemptions given under the vehicle rationing scheme, including those given to two-wheelers and women drivers.

The odd-even scheme was implemented by Delhi government for the first time, from 1 January 2016 to 15 January 2016 and then again from 15 April 2016 to 30 April 2016.

After a week-long haze, the Delhi government had chose to bring back the odd-even scheme, under which odd- and even-numbered vehicles ply on alternate days, from Monday.

"At the moment we are calling it off", Delhi's transport minister Kailash Gehlot told reporters Saturday.

The NGT had in its order said the odd-even scheme should be implemented "without any default" as and when PM (particulate matter) 10 level goes above 500 microgrammes per cubic metre and PM 2.5 level crosses the limit of 300 microgrammes per cubic metre during a span of 48 hours. After the meeting was concluded the odd-even was called off and the AAP chose to file another plea to reconsider the scheme with the exemption condition given by the party.

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Delhi meanwhile continued to wrestle with toxic air on Saturday as the level of pollutants were in the severe category for the fifth successive day. As the NGT is to take up the hearing today, there is no show of the lawyer from the Delhi government's side. The AAP had alleged that the subtle burning in Punjab and Haryana, was the main cause of the rising pollution in Delhi.

But as India's federal environmental court ruled against any exemptions - not including emergency vehicles and those running on greener compressed natural gas (CNG), or most of Delhi's public transport - local authorities said the scheme would be halted.

"This government gives highest priority to the safety and security of women". This excuse - also a reason for the exemptions - actually betrays the Delhi government's own ineptitude.

"This government was not able to procure sufficient number of buses because of non-availability of land for construction of bus depots".

"Pollution levels had skyrocketed by the hour in Delhi on Sunday, turning the air quality hazardous, which agencies consider unfit for inhalation even by healthier people".

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The average AQI in Delhi-NCR combined was 442 with PM2.5 recorded at 440 units.

The air quality deteriorated on Monday after marginally improving over the weekend.

Deadly smog has covered the city for the last six days.

Heavy smog has brought down visibility in Delhi and neighbouring districts, affecting the movement of rail traffic.

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