New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has sought the views of the transport department on the issue of the exemptions to be granted to two-wheelers and women drivers during the proposed odd-even period between November 4 and 15. “In light of the varied views on this matter among the public as well as the departments concerned, the chief minister has sought clarity from the transport department well in advance. Kejriwal has asked the department to submit its views to him within the next three days,” said an official statement.
This will be the third time the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government will enforce the scheme, wherein cars with odd and even number plates will ply on alternate days. When the AAP government had implemented the scheme in 2016, women drivers and two-wheelers were exempted from the rule. CNG cars were also exempted. However, the efficacy of the scheme is doubted. Pollution level goes down by at least 15 per cent during odd-even, but there are criticisms that the scheme is not essential for a pollution-free Delhi. A number of malpractices get spurt because of the restrictions.
According to reports, around 70 lakh two-wheelers ply in Delhi every day. If two-wheelers are included in the odd-even scheme, that is if two-wheelers are also barred from plying on alternate days, then the public transport will get burdened by almost the same number of commuters. The CM has asked the department to review the current capacity of the public transport network and state its views on whether two-wheelers should be exempt this year.
As the stubble-burning season in the neighbouring states coincides with Diwali, the pollution level shoots up in Delhi. To combat the hazard, the AAP government has drafted a seven-point plan this year. The government will also procure five to six million pollution masks, besides starting a tree planting challenge to increase green cover. It will distribute plants, deploy volunteers to control wood-burning during winters, with special provisions for 12 pollution hotspots across the city.