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article imageThe odd-even traffic rule — Will it clean Delhi’s dirty air?

By Abdul Kuddus     Dec 13, 2015 in Environment
Delhi’s odd-even traffic plan is expected keep around 1 million private cars off the roads beginning January 2016. The decision brings in fresh challenges for the government without legal framework and absence of concrete action.
What is the odd-even policy? The Delhi AAP government last week decided private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers will operate on odd and even dates, respectively, from January 1, for two weeks. Come January 1, cars with numbers ending with 1,3,5, 7 and 9 will operate. On January 2, cars with numbers ending with 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 will be allowed to be on the road, as Indian Express notes.
The step to reduce traffic was implemented keeping in mind the vehicular emissions contributing to high pollution.
The measure was enforced following a high-court observation on Delhi's alarming pollution levels saying "the city is turning into a gas chamber," and issued a directive to clean the city’s air. Till date not much was done to contain the alarming rise in air pollutants until the repercussions started showing up in health charts.
Many resident are leaving Delhi due to the disturbingly high pollution levels. According to a report, “Delhi’s pollution levels are on average 16 times higher than the levels considered safe by the World Health Organization.”
The government directive restricts private cars on Delhi roads between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and violators would be imposed with a penalty of Rs 2000 (approximately $40).
While the order has been passed by the state government, there are no concrete actions on how to prosecute violators of the odd-even rule. There would be legal hurdles to prosecute people unless the rule is incorporated in some form of law within the ambit of the Motor Vehicles Act or Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The Financial Express quoted the Delhi Transport Minister, Gopal Rai saying, “Delhi government will come out with a final plan for the implementation of the odd-even formula before December 25 and strictly implement it in order to clean the city’s air.”
With a large number of private vehicles off Delhi roads every day, the Delhi Metro is expected to witness additional pressure of commuters during peak hours.
Markedly, the government has already declared 6,000 more buses to manage passenger rush with 50 percent of the seats in these buses reserved for women.
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