As the festive lights of Diwali fade, a landmark move comes to the forefront to battle the persistent smog enveloping the capital. Over 12.5 lakh four-wheelers are set to vanish from Delhi’s thoroughfares, an ambitious step taken under the odd-even road rationing scheme. The initiative, set to roll out right after the festival of lights, is not confined to the city limits – vehicles registered outside of Delhi will also feel the impact of this eco-conscious decision.
A Futuristic Decision by AAP Government
Environment Minister Gopal Rai, following deliberations with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, heralded the scheme as a visionary stride towards cleaner air – a tangible action reflecting the AAP government’s dedication since their ascent to power.
“Post-Diwali, the air quality tends to plummet. We’re strategically implementing the odd-even scheme from November 13 to November 20 to pre-emptively combat this,” Rai articulated during a press briefing.
He further mentioned that Tuesday will see the drafting of an intricate action plan, delineating the operation on odd and even dates in tandem with various departments, including Transport and Traffic Police.
Preparing the City for Change
While the idea gained rapid traction, logistical necessities meant the strategy could not be deployed within two days post-announcement. “A substantial preparatory phase is indispensable – from mobilizing enforcement officials to supplementing our public transport system,” a senior government official elucidated.
In anticipation of the implementation, the government is swiftly moving to enhance the public transport network by incorporating additional buses through private partnerships.
Navigating Through Numbers
Transport officials estimate the active vehicle count in Delhi to hover around 75 lakh post the de-registration of older diesel and petrol vehicles. A staggering 50 lakh of these are two-wheelers, with four-wheelers accounting for the remaining figure.
Significantly, exemptions have been considered: two-wheelers, taxis, and vehicles powered by electricity or CNG will not be subject to the scheme’s constraints.
Exemptions and Extensions: The Road Ahead
Decisions on the daily time frame of the scheme’s application, traditionally from 8 am to 8 pm, are pending. Additionally, there is contemplation on whether women drivers should be exempt regardless of their vehicle’s number plate.
As the city navigates these changes, discussions are also underway to evaluate the need for extending the scheme beyond its initial one-week course.
A Breath of Fresh Air?
This is not the first time Delhi has embraced the odd-even scheme, but it is certainly among the most critical, given the city’s alarming pollution levels post-Diwali festivities. As the capital gears up for this massive transition, eyes are set on the horizon, hopeful for a breath of fresher air and a blueprint for sustainable urban living.