Delhi pollution: NGT says no odd-even unless Delhi govt justifies its necessity

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New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday asked the Delhi government to justify the odd-even road rationing scheme it planned to implement next week to improve air quality.

Only if the NGT is convinced and gives the go-ahead will the government of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal be allowed to implement the scheme, NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.

The Delhi government had planned to implement the scheme, which would allow private passenger vehicles with licence plates ending in odd and even numbers to ply on alternate days, from 13 to 17 November. Air pollution in Delhi has been rated “severe” in recent days after thick smog resulting from crop burning in neighbouring states enveloped the capital.

Women, vehicles fuelled by compressed natural gas (CNG), hybrid vehicles and two-wheelers are exempt from the odd-even scheme. Restrictions will be applicable from 8am to 8pm and a violation will attract a fine of Rs2,000.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government last implemented the odd-even scheme in April 2016.

The NGT chairperson noted that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had indicated that no real benefits in reducing air pollution accrued from the odd-even scheme when it was implemented in the past.

The case will continue to be heard on Saturday.