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Will stop odd-even scheme if people face difficulty: Kejriwal

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Amid widespread apprehension over the odd and even number scheme for private vehicles, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today struck a conciliatory note and said it will be tried out for limited period of time and it will be stopped if there are problems galore.

With experts and Opposition parties questioning the practicability of the scheme, Kejriwal said many things were yet to be thrashed out including exemptions for certain private vehicles and it was a decision taken in principle which will be “thought through”.

“In principle, a decision has been taken. Many things are yet to be thrashed out… We will experiment with it for some time. May be for 15 days. If there are too many problems, it will be stopped,” he said at the HT Leadership Summit here.

Kejriwal said his government had planned to introduce the scheme at a later stage after strengthening the public transport system but was forced to take the drastic step following “panic” in the wake of Delhi High Court’s observation that the city has become a “gas chamber”.

“A sort of panic was created that the pollution has increased so much that something drastic has to be done,” he said.

In a radical step to curb air pollution, the city government yesterday announced that private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers will be allowed to ply only on alternate days starting January 1.

Seeking to assuage concerns, Kejriwal said his government would not allow the people to be inconvenienced.

He said he had thought of introducing such a measure only after taking a number of steps, including redesigning the roads, augmenting public transport by bringing at least 10,000 buses and constructing dedicated elevated roads for buses.

Talking about initiatives taken by his government yesterday to tackle pollution, Kejriwal said vacuum cleaning on all PWD roads will begin from April 1 and grass will be planted on side kerbs and central verges of all the arterial roads to remove dust.

He said tenders will be floated very soon to procure vacuum cleaners from abroad as such machines are not available here. The Chief Minister said Euro 6 emission norms will be implemented in Delhi from 2017 as against Centre’s plan to make it mandatory from 2019.