Odd-even scheme to be back in Delhi next week

New Delhi: With the national capital facing an environmental emergency as pollution levels worsened, the Delhi government has decided to implement the third phase of the odd-even traffic rule from November 13 to 17, state Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said on Thursday.

“Air pollution in Delhi has crossed the ‘severe’ level. That’s why we are bringing back the odd-even plan,” Gahlot told media persons here.

He said the modalities of the scheme would be the same as earlier, with similar timings and exemptions: private vehicles with odd registration numbers would be allowed on odd dates and those with even numbers on even dates between 8 a.m and 8 p.m, and there would be no restrictions on weekends and public holidays.

“We don’t have a lot of time left to design the whole programme, hence we are going ahead with the rules that were imposed in the previous two phases,” he said.

The first phase of the odd-even rule was implemented by the Delhi government from January 1 to 15 and the second phase from April 15 to 30 last year.

The rule would not apply to the CNG and electric cars, two-wheelers and the cars driven by women with a male companion not above 12.

Vehicles for medical emergencies, occupied or driven by people with disabilities, VVIPs and enforcement cars would also be allowed to run on all days.

Gahlot cited increasing public transport facilities as one of the ways to help the public during the upcoming five-day traffic rationing scheme.

“DTC will hire 500 buses from private vendors at the previous rates. We have also requested the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to push the feeder bus service,” he said.

Gahlot informed that Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) stickers for cars would be available 2 p.m onwards from Friday at 22 CNG stations across Delhi and urged the people to cooperate in the implementation of the scheme.

“I appeal to the people, all agencies and the police to cooperate in these hours of crisis,” he said.

The Supreme Court-appointed environment body Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) and the Delhi Lt. Governor on Wednesday instructed the Delhi government to stay prepared to roll out the odd-even car rationing scheme, with air pollution levels reaching alarming levels.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal blamed stubble burning for the “severe” air quality in Delhi and said the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab should come together with Delhi to find a solution.

Backing his point, Gahlot said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should intervene and bring the north Indian states together.