Smog-hit Delhi calls off odd-even auto rationing plan

NGT suggests water sprinkling to reduce effects of toxic air

Uncertainty prevails over the implementation of the "odd-even car-rationing scheme" in Delhi with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday asking the city government to explain why the measure should be rolled out in the Capital next week when the pollution levels, according to reports, are likely to reduce considerably. When the scheme is launched, odd numbered vehicles are allowed to ply on odd dates and even numbered vehicles are allowed on even dates in order to combat vehicular pollution. The NGT on Saturday rapped the government for attempting to implement odd-even with large number of exemptions provided to various groups of people, including bikers.

The AAP government also said that exemptions are also crucial for women's safety.

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The court also directed all the neighboring state governments and departments to ensure complete mechanism during environmental emergency.

The Delhi government, which had on Saturday chose to halt the odd-even traffic restriction scheme, which was scheduled to be implemented from November 13 to 17, moved the country's top green tribunal on Monday with a review petition. If they are not exempted from odd-even scheme, they may shift to public transportation. It was implemented for 15 days from January 1-15 and April 15-30 past year.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Saturday heard the Delhi government's arguments on the scheme's effectiveness and accordingly took its decision.

The Tribunal has also asked for a detailed report on the emissions caused by cars in the National Capital Region (NCR) and what the other pollutant factors are.

"In light of the the two conditions by NGT on 2 wheelers and women, at the moment we are calling it off". Delhi's public transportation can not take that load.

Since Tuesday morning, Delhi was covered with thick smog, following which health officials issued advisory to elderly and children to avoid venturing out.

The smog's been so bad that schools have been closed this week.

The Delhi government counsel said that from next year, with better preparation, it would be in a position to implement the odd-even scheme without any exemption. Adding another wave of commuters may result in collapse of public transportation system.

"The state government still went ahead with the scheme, even though their own Delhi Pollution Board said it was not effective, and in fact, worsened the situation in phase-1 and phase-2. I truly feel that this government is not very serious about controlling pollution", she reprimanded.