Delhi won’t roll it out sans exemptions, to file review plea in NGT
Hours after the National Green Tribunal(NGT) gave conditional nod to ply odd-even car rationing policy, the state government called-off the policy citing that the government is not yet ready to exempt women and two-wheelers.
The decision was taken in a high-level meeting convened by the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, after the NGT gave its order on odd-even car policy.
“At the moment we are calling it off. We will again approach the NGT and will ask them to allow exemptions to women and two-wheelers,” Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said.
Gahlot said that they will approach the green court on Monday again.
Last year, exemptions were given to women, two-wheelers, vehicles carrying children in school uniforms and VVIPs.
The meeting was attended by all the cabinet ministers, chief secretary and other senior officers.
“We can’t abide the NGT guidelines to exempt the two-wheelers and women driver. Right now, we don’t have the strength to exempt the two-wheeler from the road. Currently, there are 60 lakhs two-wheelers on the road,” the Transport Minister told reporters after the meeting.
Stressing the fact that the providing safety and security to the ladies is the biggest concern for the government, he said, “We can’t take the risk in this regard. We feel that the exemption to this category should continue.”
The road rationing scheme was supposed to be implemented from November 13-17 as suggested by the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) and specified under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), after Delhi’s air quality went “beyond severe”.
“The odd-even formula can’t be imposed like this. Nothing has been done from your end for the past one year,” the National Green Tribunal rebuked the Delhi government.
“The odd-even will go on. No exemption of any kind to any one, including two-wheelers, women, public officers or politicians, except essential services,” NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar ordered, adding that only CNG vehicles, emergency services such as ambulance and fire, and vehicles carrying waste shall be exempted.
It said that “100 measures” have been suggested to curb pollution, “But you always opted for odd-even. Delhi government will have to justify the implementation of this scheme, country’s green court said on Saturday.
The Delhi government counsel 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. Take a decision yourself.”
While passing several directives, the NGT said every entry point to Delhi should be properly managed by the city government, the corporations should ensure that there was no congestion, and Uttar Pradesh and Haryana should depute special forces at the border of the national capital to avoid traffic jams.
The tribunal also issued notices to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to show cause why construction was still going on.
“Why shall your officials not be imprisoned for violation of its order putting a ban on construction activities,” Justice Kumar said.
The tribunal constituted a three member team of officials from the CPCB and DPCC, and the special secretary of the environment department of the Delhi government, which would collect data of ambient air quality and analyse all different parameters including PM (particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5) levels, ozone, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and others.