Delhi pollution: Government calls off odd-even plan in NCR

NGT Approves Odd-Even in Delhi; no Exemption to 2-Wheelers, Govt Servants, Women, VIPs

NGT gives Delhi government nod to implement odd-even scheme

The odd-even scheme is not returning to Delhi on Monday, the Delhi government said today, expressing its inability to enforce the measure after the National Green Tribunal ordered the withdrawal of exemptions given to women and two-wheelers.

Delhi meanwhile continued to wrest with toxic air on Saturday as the level of pollutants were in the severe category for the fifth successive day.

Considering the poor visibility in Delhi, the United Airlines on Saturday temporarily suspended its flight from Newark to the national capital. Favoring the introduction of the odd-even scheme, Ola said the current levels of air pollution in the national capital were "troublesome" and it was necessary to take urgent steps.

While the Delhi government counsel also asked the tribunal if they shall "drop the idea of odd-even" as Delhi's air quality was improving, the tribunal asked the government to take a call, saying: "We are not going to give you a shelter on this one".

"The odd-even will go on".

The NGT, which gave a conditional nod to the scheme, said that it should be implemented as and when PM (particulate matter) 10 level goes above 500 micrograms per cubic metre and PM 2.5 level crosses the limit of 300 micrograms per cubic metre and persist for 48 hours at a stretch. The Tribunal disapproved all the exemptions that were given by the city government during the previous two phases of odd-even in January and April 2016. The exemptions were given to women, two-wheelers, vehicles carrying children in school uniforms and VVIPs. I do not think that the odd-even plan is necessary. "If 30 lakh two-wheelers are off the road, Delhi's public transport system can not accommodate the surge", added Gehlot.

"At the moment we are calling it off".

"Also we can not compromise with the safety of women". It further added that it was not "feasible" to arrange such a large number of buses "at this stage". To this, the Delhi Government stated that this couldn't be said as of now.

The average AQI in Delhi-NCR combined was 442 with PM2.5 recorded at 440 units. "We are hoping it would get better tomorrow (Sunday)", Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) chairperson Bhure Lal told IANS. A report by System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) said that a dust storm, which swept across Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia in the last week of October and spilled onto the first week of November, severely affected Delhi's air quality.

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