Odd-even scheme's next phase in Delhi likely only after March

Some exemptions may go, but not on 2-wheelers.

New Delhi: The second phase of the Aam Aadmi Party government’s ambitious “odd-even” scheme is likely to be implemented only after March as the government brainstorms ways to address two key concerns: commuting by schoolchildren and the possibility of people buying another car to bypass the restrictions. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who chaired a review meeting on the next phase of the car-rationing scheme on Monday, asked all departments to look into these two major issues and submit their report at the earliest.

A top source said the government is planning to introduce the second phase of the traffic-rationing scheme after the completion of the CBSE Class 10 and Class 12 board exams in March-April, adding that two-wheelers will not come under the ambit of even the next phase of the scheme. It is, however, expected that the exemptions list might be pruned in the scheme’s next phase.

Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai said the departments have to submit their report before the next meeting, for which the date is yet to be set. Elaborating on the 15-day trial phase, Mr Rai said during implementation of the car-rationing scheme, average pollution levels had come down significantly and it also decongested the city’s roads.

“In today’s review meeting, all departments including PWD, transport, environment as well as independent experts have expressed their view that the scheme should continue further to bring down pollution levels and to decongest the capital’s roads. During the meeting, two major concerns came up for discussion. These two are about picking up of schoolchildren by their parents and the second, that people will rush to buy another car to evade the scheme,” the minister said.

Mr Rai added no decision has been reached on whether two-wheelers will be exempted from restrictions. This will only be possible when the city government strengthens the public transport system, including augmenting the Delhi Transport Corporation’s fleet and that of cluster buses.

He said that at Monday’s review meeting it was also mentioned that due to the odd-even scheme, pollution levels has come down significantly on an average and the CSE, EPCA and Teri also found reductions in pollution level.

On the role of public transport, the minister said that the frequency of DTC and cluster buses had increased significantly due to this scheme, as there was not much traffic congestion on roads in the last 15 days. “Sixty-four lakh people used to travel in DTC and cluster buses every day during this scheme. The government is moving towards augmenting public transport by introducing new buses,” he said.

“A thousand buses will start coming on the roads from April-June this year and 1,000 AC buses will come from July-August. Besides, we have also decided to introduce a ‘premium bus service’ for the elite with higher fares, to encourage them to use public transport,” he said.

Mr Rai added that during the odd-even scheme, the sale of petrol and diesel had fallen by 25-30 per cent in Delhi, which shows that the pollution had reduced in that period. “In bordering areas, PM 2.5 levels were recorded more than 400 (ug/m3) while in inner areas in Delhi, they were recorded between 150 and 210 on an average,” he added.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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