State government calls off car rationing in New Delhi

NEW DELHI, INDIA (NOVEMBER 11, 2017) (ANI) – The Delhi government on Saturday (November 11) called off the “odd-even” car rationing scheme after country’s top environmental court had allowed the same but denied any relaxation for women drivers.

The government said the city’s public transport system was not prepared to handle the sudden surge of commuters.

Under the scheme, fuel-based private vehicles with odd and even numbers run on alternate days for a fixed period. Only vehicles used for emergency services such as ambulances and fire brigades are exempted.

The government had earlier proposed to apply the scheme from November 13 to November 17, in an initiative to control air pollution levels in the national capital; however country’s top environmental court, the National Green Tribunal, challenged the move.

Considering the severity of Delhi’s air quality, earlier in the day, the NGT court allowed the Delhi government to implement the scheme but denied any relaxation for VIPs, women drivers and two-wheelers.

Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said the government would again appeal to the green tribunal on Monday (November 13) and try to regain the exemption in its car-rationing scheme.

Gahlot said the non-exemption of women could compromise women’s security.

National capital’s air has been consistently in the “hazardous” zone for past five days, despite government halting construction activities, raising parking charges fourfold and banning commercial trucks from the city unless they are transporting essential commodities.

The air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter in the air, hit 374 on Saturday on a scale where the maximum reading is 500 and where anything above 100 is considered unhealthy by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). However, it was slightly better than Friday’s (November 09) average of 468.

Illegal crop burning in farm states surrounding New Delhi, vehicle exhausts and swirling construction dust have contributed to what has become an annual crisis.