Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Smog-hit Delhi drops auto rationing scheme

Maharashtra moves to protect its farmers from suffering losses due to rigged Maharashtra moves to protect its farmers from suffering losses due to rigged we... Mumbai
Sammy Stanley | 14 November, 2017, 00:46

The National Green Tribunal on Monday asked whether the Delhi government was only informing the media about a review petition on the odd-even scheme since no review petition has been filed as yet.

The NGT on Saturday had given a go-ahead to the Odd-Even scheme to be implemented from November 13 but reprimanded the Delhi government for acting late on rising pollution levels.

The NGT, in its order, also said that in future the odd-even scheme should automatically come into force if the PM2.5 and PM10, particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 and 10mm respectively, go above the 300 and 500 units for 48 hours.

The green panel rapped the AAP government for claiming that the decision of rolling out the car-rationing scheme was undertaken following the guidelines of the Environmental Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).

This is the third time the odd-even scheme is being launched in Delhi. Former transport minister Gopal Rai had held a session with women's groups, the AAP government had even held public meetings attended by SDM-rank officers to record votes in favour and against exempting women.

"What is the justification for permitting two wheelers which are a serious contributor to air pollution?" 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.

The Tribunal has also asked for a detailed report on the emissions caused by cars in the National Capital Region (NCR) and what the other pollutant factors are.

It permitted the operation of industries which are providing essential services and goods like food items and medical facilities.

However, the decision was dropped by the Delhi government after the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) said none of the vehicles would be exempted.

"In light of the two conditions by NGT on two-wheelers and women, at the moment we are calling it off". 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.

The entry of trucks except those carrying essentials has been banned in the national capital, besides work on civil construction sites was suspended. The government, he added, does not have enough public transport alternatives to accommodate over 6 million two-wheelers.

The air quality in Delhi had deteriorated on Sunday after a sharp rise in presence of pollutants.The AAP dispensation was also in touch with environment scientists and continuously monitoring the alarming pollution level which has left people gasping for breath.

The Delhi government on Monday also chose to work out a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) with state-owned helicopter service company Pawan Hans for aerial sprinkling of water over the city to contain pollution.

Delhi's air, among the world's dirtiest, worsens in the winter months.

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