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12 November 2017, 12:45 | Rodolfo Wallace
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In a major development ahead of the 3rd phase of Delhi's Odd-Even plan which is scheduled to implemented from November 13-17, the Delhi government has made a decision to allow free travel for commuters in all DTC and cluster buses from November 13-17.
The air quality remains at hazardous levels across the city, which has been under a haze for days together. But, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) lashed out at the Delhi government over this and announced that no one should be exempted from the odd-even scheme.
Earlier on Saturday, the tribunal said that in future, the odd-even scheme should automatically come into force if the PM2.5 and PM10, particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 and 10 mm respectively, levels go above the 300 and 500 mark respectively for 48 hours.
"The odd-even will go on".
In 2016, exemptions were given to women, two-wheelers, vehicles carrying children in school uniforms and VVIPs. The information was tweeted by Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot.
The NGT also asked the Delhi Traffic Police to deploy its personnel at traffic lights, observing that nearly all the main roads in the city are witness to diesel vehicles which are older than 10 years and petrol vehicles which are older than 15 years.
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In a statement, the government later said that it has chose to "defer" its implementation.
NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said while the green bench was not against the odd-even scheme, it wanted to know how it helps.
So at the moment we are calling it off.
He said the government would struggle to cope with the extra pressure on public transport while the biggest issue was "the safety and security of women".
On Saturday, the air quality in Delhi-NCR region showed slight improvement towards the afternoon but the pollution levels shot up again later. It further added that it was not "feasible" to arrange such a large number of buses "at this stage".
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) told the tribunal that they had warned the Kejriwal government orally in advance about the impending problem. It also directed the Delhi government to ban on the construction works that are going in the city. The tribunal asked Kejriwal government to produce the letter on the basis of which the decision to implement odd-even scheme was taken, and whether the the government had sought the approval of the Lieutenant Governor.
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