Delhi government seeks exemptions for odd-even this year

NGT suggests water sprinkling to reduce effects of toxic air

The Delhi government has made a decision to file a plea before the National Green Tribunal to urge it to consider the exemption of women and two-wheelers from the odd-even scheme. It also seeks an effective implementation of the odd-even auto rationing scheme, which the Delhi government scrapped after the National Green Tribunal asked for the removal of exemptions to two-wheelers, women and VIPs.

On November 11, the NGT gave a conditional nod to the Delhi government's proposal to implement the odd-even scheme for five days starting from November 13.

The Indian government had planned to bring in vehicle rationing from Monday, exempting women for their safety.

Hearing the plea, the tribunal on Monday took Delhi government to task, saying no review petition has yet been filed on the Odd-Even policy and asked the government if it was just a media stunt.

The NGT questioned the Delhi government over not filing a review petition and wondered if its statement on Saturday was a media gimmick.

The bench, headed by NGT chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar, said that the government has not implemented all the measures suggested for pollution control and has only gone after the odd-even scheme. It has been a week that health emergency is declared in Delhi as hazardous smog clouds the region, making it unsafe for the people to breath.

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"We can not ignore the pollution", the bench said adding that it will hear the plea today itself after finishing the matters listed on its board.

The Delhi government has also temporarily banned construction work in a bid to improve conditions, and has increased parking fees to discourage people from driving their cars.

Air pollution is a leading cause of premature death in India. The government, he added, does not have enough public transport alternatives to accommodate over 6 million two-wheelers. The odd-even rule mandates that the on odd dates, only odd numbered vehicles will ply on the roads while on even dates, only even numbered vehicles will be allowed to ply on Delhi roads.

Twitter users in the smog-choked Indian capital Delhi have criticised the re-introduction of vehicle rationing as a "tokenistic" effort to curb pollution. Pollution in Delhi gets aggravated during winter months.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud considered the submission of lawyer RK Kapoor that rise in dust particles on roads, stubble burning in Delhi's neighbouring states like Haryana and Punjab have led to an alarming rise in pollution levels in the National Capital region and its adjoining areas.

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