New Delhi: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hinted on Tuesday that the state government is willing to re-introduce the odd-even car rationing scheme if needed.
Will re-introduce odd-even if need arises: Arvind Kejriwal
Air pollution in Delhi has hit such a high level that the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority on Monday banned industrial activity in pollution hot spots and construction work across Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) until Wednesday.
Delhi has for the past few years been battling severe air pollution, especially in the winter. The Central Pollution Control Board data showed the overall air quality index (AQI) on Tuesday at 416, while the centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research recorded an AQI of 423 for the day. An AQI above 400 falls in the “severe” category.
“If there is a need for odd-even, then we will definitely implement it,” Kejriwal said.
“The Delhi government is taking various steps to tackle pollution. We did large-scale tree plantation. The government is going to buy 3,000 buses. The government has sanctioned a new phase of the Metro. We are also working towards recharging lakes. We are working at our level. However, citizens need to understand this and also understand how much pollution they are contributing… We all need to control that,” he said.
The Delhi government has faced criticism from opposition parties for failing to control the rising levels of air pollution. However, Kejriwal stressed the centre’s role in bringing neighbouring states on board to work together to control these rising levels.
“Air has no boundary. In October and November, there are 20-25 days when the pollution level increases in Delhi because of stubble burning (in neighbouring states). Until the centre takes steps, nothing can be done,” Kejriwal said.
The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government first implemented the odd-even scheme in 2016. Women, vehicles fuelled by compressed natural gas, hybrid vehicles and two-wheelers were exempt. The restrictions were applicable from 8am to 8pm. The government did not implement it last year as the National Green Tribunal raised concerns over the exemption of women and two-wheelers.