NEW DELHI: Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday said the city government will wait to see the written orders issued by the Supreme Court following a hearing earlier in the day before deciding on the implementation of the odd-even road rationing policy from November 13.
Rai’s cautious remarks came after the Supreme Court, during a hearing on the air pollution in the national Capital, appeared to question the effectiveness of the odd-even scheme.
“Odd-even has been implemented in Delhi, but has it ever succeeded? This is all optics.” a bench comprising justices SK Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia said during a hearing on pollution in Delhi.
Amicus curiae Aparajita Singh told the court that the odd-even decision would restrict CNG vehicles too and it might be better and scientific to restrict diesel vehicles. The bench did not subsequently express a clear view on the odd-even move.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on Monday declared that it will introduce the road rationing policy in Delhi starting November 13. Under this, vehicles with licence plates ending in odd numbers will be allowed on the streets on odd-numbered dates, while even-numbered vehicles can ply on even dates.
The policy is slated to be enforced from November 13, a day after Diwali.
Rai convened a meeting to work out the details of the policy to be implemented between November 13-20 and what possible exemptions needed to be allowed. But he didn’t make the announcement’
“We held a meeting today with officials from the traffic police, transport and environment departments. How to implement it was discussed. However, we will make any further strategies or announcements on odd-even only after we have carefully studied the Supreme Court’s order in this matter,” Rai said.
Delhi has seen three previous stints of the odd-even scheme being implemented in 2016, 2017 and 2019. In the first stint, it had been implemented in two phases — first from January 1-15, followed by the second phase in April 16-30. The scheme was also introduced again in 2017 – for a week and for 12 days in 2019.
A study by a team of scientists from IIT-Delhi, IIT-Kanpur, IITM-Pune, CSIR and the TERI in 2016 showed the odd-even scheme had a limited impact of 2-3% on pollution caused by vehicles.
In the previous editions, the exempted categories included two-wheelers, EVs, vehicles driven by women, taxis, physically disabled people, VIPs, and emergency and defence vehicles.