As Delhi Government announced last week, the pollution-controlling Odd-Even scheme will be affected by highly polluted country’s capital and the region around from November 13, for five days. Ultimately, the day has come and it will really be interesting to see what effective steps state government is going to take on or control this day by day increasing air pollution issue in the Delhi-NCR.
Earlier this week, the Delhi government announced to bring in the third phase of the odd-even scheme to tackle situations like higher air toxicity level that always remains in red and multi folds above the safe level. Rising smog cloud issue that not only hampered transportation but also caused several accidents on highways. However, the proposed list of stringent exemptions by Delhi government was evaluated by the National Green Tribunal.
The proposed exemption list from the Delhi government under this Odd-Even rule is much more stringent than ever before. The CNG vehicles that were tagged with CNG stickers during the last stint of Odd-Even will be valid. But, the vehicles with sole women drivers, children in school uniform and two-wheelers are not exempted in this third phase of Odd-Even rule. Also, the large will be exemptions list it will only reduce the efficacy of this scheme and not will help in controlling air pollution issue. Other than this, the availability of BS-III two-wheelers those registration has been banned in the country early this year. Yet, their availability on the roads in huge amount increases air pollution.
As per the Kailash Gahlot, transport minister, “the state government has directed the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to hire 500 additional buses from contractors to accommodate the rush of commuters during odd-even rule.” he further added, "Delhi Metro has also promised to provide 100 small buses during the period. Schools will be free to provide their buses voluntarily. However, there will be no compulsion."
Earlier, in the last two phases of the Odd-Even scheme, the Delhi government has successfully managed the situations like reducing congestion on roads and improving the air quality index in the Delhi-NCR region. So, the state government is looking for utilizing measures taken earlier. Well, air pollution from vehicles is not the sole reason for Delhi’s worst conditions. Other means such as the burning of biomass, thermal power plants, industries and construction also releases toxins into the environment.
Other than this, the governing bodies are working on awareness to stop burning plastics, wood, crop residue and other unwanted objects through campaigns. Besides these initiatives, it is really hard to educate people and keep track on who is doing what as Delhi is one of the biggest cities in the world.
The members of the task force on the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) which comprises Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and the state pollution control boards did not recommend the Delhi government to implement the odd-even scheme immediately. The reason behind was the increase in smog conditions from November 11.
However, the prediction of better visibility and the comparatively less toxic air went wrong and the smog conditions in Delhi-NCR get worse over the weekend. As from the IMD officials prediction, there were exceptions of light rain showers in Delhi and the surrounding regions, that could help in naturally resolving or can say reducing the smoggy conditions in the capital and Delhi-NCR region.