Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Monday announced that the odd-even car rationing scheme will be enforced from November keeping in view the rising pollution levels in the national Capital.
The decision was taken in a high-level meeting held on Monday afternoon, which was headed by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“The decision has been taken as after Diwali, pollution may rise further. Odd-even will come into effect a day after Diwali, for a week’s time, so from November 13 till November 20. After that, based on the pollution levels prevailing in Delhi, further decisions can be taken,” Rai said, addressing a press conference after the meeting.
“We have implemented odd-even in Delhi before too, so people are aware about it, but essentially it means that on odd dates, cars having odd-numbered digits will only be allowed to ply in Delhi. Similarly on even days, only cars with their last digit ending in an even number will be allowed on the road,” Rai said, further requesting Delhi’s neighbouring states to impose a complete ban on firecrackers – just like the national Capital has.
“Delhi has a complete ban on firecrackers and with Diwali around the corner, we need to prevent further deterioration. I request the neighbouring states to implement such a ban as well,” he said, stating Delhi Police had been directed today to crack down on the entry of any form of firecrackers into Delhi.
He also said schools have been directed to suspend physical classes for all grades barring classes 10 and 12, until November 10. Classes can be held online during this period, he said.
“Under stage 4, we can also take a decision on allowing work from home. The call to allow only 50% of staff in Delhi’s government and private offices will be taken later,” Rai said.
Delhi’s average AQI on Sunday was 454 (severe) at 4pm, which had prompted the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR to invoke its most stringent measures – under stage 4 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) across Delhi NCR with immediate effect.
The curbs as per Stage 4 focus heavily on diesel vehicles and bans all diesel light commercial vehicles that are registered outside Delhi and are non BS VI, from entering the capital. Similarly, there is a ban on entry of trucks into Delhi, alongside a ban on plying of all diesel-Medium Goods Vehicles (MGV) and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) in the capital. Under this category, all linear construction projects such as highways, roads and flyovers will have also been stopped.