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Odd-even scheme set to return after March

Odd-Even Scheme

New Delhi:Delhi government is likely to implement the next phase of odd-even scheme after March as it seeks to first address two major concerns related to commuting by school children and the possibility of people going for another car to circumvent the restrictions.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who on Monday chaired a review meeting on the next phase of odd-even, has asked all departments to look into these two major issues and submit their report in this regard at the earliest. A top source said that government is planning to introduce the second phase of the traffic-rationing scheme after the completion of CBSE Board exams in March-April, adding that two-wheelers will, however, not come under the ambit of the next phase of the car-rationing scheme.

Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said concerned departments have to submit their report before the next meeting, for which the date is yet to be decided. Elaborating on the 15-day trial phase, Rai said that during the implementation of the car-rationing scheme, the average pollution level had come down significantly and it also decongested the city’s roads.

“In today’s review meeting, all the departments including PWD, transport, environment as well as independent experts have expressed their views that the scheme should continue further to bring down pollution level and de-congest the capital’s roads. “During the meeting, the two major concerns came up for discussion. These two concerns are about picking of school children by their parents and the second that people will move to buy alternate car to evade the scheme,” the minister said.

When asked about inclusion of bikes and scooters under the next phase of scheme, Rai said that no decision has been taken in this regard and it will be only possible when the city government strengthens the public transport system including increasing of fleet of DTC and cluster buses. He said that in the review meeting held today, it was also mentioned that due to odd-even scheme, pollution level has come down significantly on an average and CSE, EPCA and TERI also found the reduction in pollution level.

On the role of public transport, the minister also said that the frequency of DTC and cluster buses has increased significantly due to this scheme as there was no much traffic-congestion on the roads during the last 15 days.

“64 lakh people used to travel in DTC and cluster buses every day during this scheme. Government is moving towards augmenting public transport by introducing new buses,” he said

“1,000 buses will start coming on roads from April-June this year and one thousand AC buses will come from July-August. “Besides, we have also decided to introduce ‘Premium Bus Service’ for elite class with higher fares which is aimed at encouraging them to use public transport,” he said.

Rai added that during the odd-even scheme, the sale of petro and diesel came down by 25-30 per cent in the national capital which shows that the pollution level was reduced during that period. “In bordering areas, PM 2.5 levels were recorded more than 400 (ug/m3) while in inner areas in Delhi, they were recorded between 150 and 210 on an average,” he also added.

Yesterday, Delhi government had organised ‘thanksgiving’ event at Chattarsal Stadium for making the car-rationing scheme a ‘success’. Addressing a rally on the “grand success” of the pilot road-rationing scheme, Kejriwal had said the experiment saw nearly “100 per cent” participation by Delhiites.

He had also said the scheme could be successfully implemented as the government engaged the public in a “dialogue” instead of resorting to threats of penalty, which “would not have worked”.

“Around 20 lakh cars used to be on the roads daily during the duration of the scheme, but number of challans were around 100, 200 or 500. This is nothing. This means, almost 100 per cent people of Delhi followed odd-even and it became a movement.

“If we had put out an order that odd-even will be implemented from January 1 and cars of violators would be impounded, I don’t think we could have implemented the scheme successfully. People would have revolted against it,” he had said.

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