Odd-even scheme: NGT refuses to exempt women, two-wheelers
Expressing concern over the pollution level it said the 'city should not gift infected lungs to its children'
The National Green Tribunal yesterday refused to exempt women and two-wheelers from the Delhi government's odd-even car rationing scheme and directed it to ensure that over 10-year-old diesel vehicles are taken off the roads without delay. The tribunal, which expressed concern over the high pollution level which was an "environmental and health emergency", said the city should "not gift infected lungs to its children."
Children wearing air pollution masks, hold replicas of black roses as they attend a demonstration to spread awareness about the problem of air pollution, on Children's Day in New Delhi yesterday. Pic/PTI
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also asked the Aam Aadmi Party government here to identify the most polluted areas yesterday itself and sprinkle water from high rise buildings. The bench, however, allowed non-polluting industries who manufacture essential goods to operate.
'What are states doing?'
During the hearing, the NGT also asked what the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are doing. "What is UP, Haryana and Punjab doing? All of you are just blaming each other. You cannot just shift blame," it said. he Delhi government withdrew its plea as the NGT was not convinced with its submission that the city did not have adequate public transport to cater to over 25 lakh commuters. The Delhi government had yesterday moved an application before the bench seeking modification of its November 11 order allowing odd-even scheme without exemptions.
The tribunal noted that as per reports of the pollution control committees, two-wheelers caused greater pollution, and according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), approximately 30 per cent pollution was caused by them. "If you permit 68 lakh two-wheelers to ply, what will be the extent of the pollution? You said thousands of buses were ordered but have not got a single bus yet. You wait for a crisis," the bench said.
On exemption for women
Expressing anguish over the plea seeking permission to exempt women drivers from the odd-even scheme, the NGT asked "are you (Delhi government) not responsible for safety of ladies who do not have cars and travel by metros and buses on a daily basis? Why can't you have a special ladies buses?"
Noting that particulate matter (PM) 10 was higher than 900, it said, "You (Delhi government) are sprinkling water on trees. What you are supposed to do is to climb a multi-storeyed building and sprinkle water using fire equipment."
392 Micrograms per cubic metre of PM 10 levels yesterday
262 Micrograms per cubic metre of PM 2.5 levels yesterday
With the national capital gasping for breath, the Delhi High Court yesterday termed the need for more buses in the city a "grave urgency" and said the AAP government needed to address it on a "war-footing". It noted that despite the passage of 19 years since a Supreme Court order, the government of Delhi has not yet achieved the target set by the top court. The bench reminded the Delhi government about the Supreme Court's July 27, 1998 direction to augment the fleet of buses from 5,000 to