Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Delhi govt's no show at NGT hearing, Supreme Court enters plea

Delhi govt's no show at NGT hearing, Supreme Court enters plea

Amid deteriorating weather condition in the national capital, the Delhi government on Monday moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to seek for an amendment in its earlier order on the implication of the odd-even scheme. The case will not be taken up at least till tomorrow, which means the Odd-Even plan will be put off further in the city where air pollution has hit emergency levels.

The government had thereupon scrapped its plan to implement the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme slated to start today after NGT said there can be no exemption for women, two-wheelers or government servants. After the meeting was concluded the odd-even was called off and the AAP chose to file another plea to reconsider the scheme with the exemption condition given by the party.

Thus, the AAP government, which was supposed to implement the scheme by allowing vehicles with registration number ending with an even number on roads on even dates while those ending with an odd number on odd dates beginning from Monday to Friday (November 13-November 17) for a period of five days, has made a decision to cancel its plan for the time being.

"We can not ignore the pollution", the Supreme Court bench said, adding that it will hear the plea today itself after finishing the matters listed on its board.

"We have filed the review petition demanding exemptions for women drivers and two-wheelers for this year only", Delhi government counsel Tarunvir Singh Khehar told the media here.

Gargava of the CPCB, who is in charge of monitoring air quality, said Delhi's air has been consistently in the "hazardous" zone, despite measures such as a halt to construction and increasing vehicle parking charges four-fold to encourage people to use public transportation. Even if the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government had its heart in the right place, its preparation was way off the mark. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia's media advisor Arunodoy Prakash said that Delhi's present public transport system can not bear the gargantuan load of additional commuters that lack of exemption to two-wheelers would cause.

The NGT, in its order, also said that in future the odd-even scheme should automatically come into force if the PM2.5 and PM10, particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 and 10mm respectively, go above the 300 and 500 units for 48 hours.

"We can only do this much, and now we will have to wait for rains to clean the atmosphere, " said Prashant Gargava, an official at the Central Pollution Control Board.

Stating it did not have enough public transport as of now to accommodate the extra commuters - over 30 lakh during the odd-even if two-wheelers were not exempted - the Delhi government said the process of procuring new buses was going on. Other state governments would do well to learn from AAP's example.

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