Odd-Even put off due to NGT, Delhi govt standoff

Residents walk along a road amid heavy smog in New Delhi on November 9

"In light of the two conditions by the NGT on 2-wheelers and women drivers, at the moment we are calling it off (the odd-even scheme)", Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot said.

But as India's federal environmental court ruled against any exemptions ― not including emergency vehicles and those running on greener compressed natural gas (CNG), or most of Delhi's public transport ― local authorities said the scheme would be halted.

However, the NGT also hopes that the odd-even scheme would not affect the commuters. "The NGT today in its order said odd-even will implement automatically if the PM2.5 level goes above 300 and PM10 level goes above 500", Rajiv Bansal, counsel representing DDA, told reporters after the hearing.

The tribunal also pulled up the CMD of DTC for not reading the former judgements on Odd Even Scheme and said that it was unfortunate. To this, the Delhi Government stated that this couldn't be said as of now.

The tribunal directed the implementation of odd-even "right away" without waiting for 48 hours, in case PM2.5 and PM10 go beyond 400 and 700 units respectively.

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Reacting to his Cabinet Minister's decision, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet said the move will encourage people to switch to public transport.

"Reports from DPCC (Delhi Pollution Control Committee) and CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) showed there was no change in pollution level last time".

The NGT also asked the Delhi Traffic Police to deploy its personnel at traffic lights, observing that nearly all the main roads in the city are witness to diesel vehicles which are older than 10 years and petrol vehicles which are older than 15 years. Why don't you take proper steps for their maintenance.

The tribunal rapped the DTC chairman-cum-managing director for not taking note of an NGT order on maintenance of buses and carrying out a rationalisation study so that the vehicles can be used more effectively.

"Why shall your officials not be imprisoned for violation of its order putting a ban on construction activities", Justice Kumar said. The US-based passenger carrier United Airlines temporarily suspended its Newark-IGI airport flights due to concerns over poor air quality in New Delhi. The situation had reversed hours after the government announced that levels of ultrafine particulates PM2.5 and PM10 had seen a reduction.

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