Come Monday, 4 November, Delhi will witness the third Odd-Even car rationing scheme kick off, as the national capital is not only grappling for a dash of fresh air but the sight of a clear blue sky. With Chhath celebrations witnessing some use of firecrackers, it has only aggravated Delhi NCR's hazardous air quality that turned so bad on Sunday, 3 November, that flights had to be diverted.
What is Odd-Even?
It's a car rationing system where, through vehicles running with number plates ending with even numbers like 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 will be allowed to run on even dates, while those with number plates ending with odd numbers like 1,3,5,7 and 9 will be allowed to run on odd dates.
The Scheme is to be enforced from 4th to 15th November, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., except on Sundays.
This is a way to curb the number of cars plying on streets and hence bring down the pollution emanating from vehicles to a certain extent. Though many experts have contested the logic saying vehicular pollution is not as big a concern for Delhi NCR as other forms of pollution like construction activity, the apocalyptic situation Delhi is facing right now, any move to curb any level of pollution will be an advantage for its citizenry.
Dates & Time: The Odd-Even scheme will kick off on Monday, 4 November, and will remain in force till 15 November. The rule will be applicable in Delhi from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, the rule will not be enforced on Sundays.
Controversy before start: In a move that defies logic and has drawn criticism as it defies the purpose of the scheme, Kejriwal government has exempted two-wheelers from odd-even scheme. A large number of two wheelers, run on fossil fuel, won't come under its strict purview, whereas even personal CNG cars, which are much cleaner will be subjected to rules this time. Political opponents of the AAP see it as an appeasement policy by the Kejriwal government whose core voter base ranges from lower middle class to poor.
Who Will be Exempted?
- The Kejriwal government, like in the past, has exempted women from this rule, given the crime scenario in the capital. "Women driving alone, cars having all women as occupants and women accompanied by children aged less than 12 years" will also be exempted, he said.
- Vehicles used for medical emergencies during this 12-day, has also been exempted by the Delhi government.
- School children-carrying private vehicles are also allowed. On being asked how will the government determine genuine cases from false ones, the Delhi CM said it's based on "trust".
- Certain VIPs too will be exempted. The vehicles of the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, state governors, Chief Justice of India, Speakers of the Lok Sabha, Union ministers, and leaders of the Opposition of both the Houses, Supreme Court judges, chairman of UPSC, chief election commissioners and CAG, deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha and deputy speaker of Lok Sabha and Lieutenant-general of Delhi and judges of High Court and members of the Lokayukta, vehicles for emergency enforcement and defence purposes will be exempted.
On the other hand, In a welcome move, vehicles of Delhi Government ministers and even the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will not be exempted from this rule.
What's the Cost of Violation?
Delhi government will charge a hefty fine of Rs 4,000 for the violation of the Odd-even rule from 4 November. Earlier, the penalty was Rs 2000 for the violation. The hike in penalty for the violation of Odd-Even scheme has been suggested by the Transport department as per the amended Motor Vehicles Act.
As a way of preparing for monday, as many as 2,000 additional buses will be put on roads by the Kejriwal government, between 4 and 15 November. Additionally, all cluster buses will also be pressed into service. Entire fleet of DTC buses too will be deployed.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will also conduct 61 additional trips during the 12-day odd-even scheme.
In a breather, cab aggregators Uber and Ola have also been asked to deactivate surge pricing during this period to minimise the inconvenience of Delhites.
The overall Air Quality Index of Delhi remained 625 as of Sunday, 3 November, decreasing visibility into near zero and creating a public scare. However imperfect, Monday's Odd-even will be nothing less than a blessing for a city that has choked for days.
(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by FIT.)
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