Can odd-even formula be tried for a week only, asks HC

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Aam Aadmi Party government whether it can limit restrictions on the plying of even- and odd-numbered vehicles in the national capital on alternate days to “a week” instead of the planned 15 days.

In response, the city government said that it would put all facts before the court on January 8 and said the rationale behind the 15-day curbs was to evaluate the impact of the scheme.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath asked the government to submit the data on air pollution it has collected in a week during implementation of the odd-even scheme in the national capital.

“Is it really necessary to have it for two weeks (15 days)? Can’t it be confined to eight days? Can you end it on Friday? People are facing inconvenience. Take instructions,” the bench asked the government posting the matter for Friday.

“It was a pilot project. You must have data (air pollution) with you now. Show us how much the pollution has reduced. The people of Delhi supported you despite inconvenience. There is no adequate public transport,” it added.

Talking to reporters later, Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said the government decided to run the scheme for 15 days because it wanted “to have sufficient data and experience”.

He claimed that vehicular pollution has come down significantly since January 1 when the scheme was launched.

The court, hearing 12 PILs challenging the Delhi government’s decision to only allow even- and odd-numbered vehicles to ply in Delhi on alternate dates from January 1 to 15, also asked why diesel cabs were still plying on roads despite a ban.

Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi government, defended the decision of continuing the odd-even scheme for 15 days, saying the data collected till now shows decrease in the level of air pollution.

Meanwhile, in a status report submitted to the court, the AAP government defended its decision to exempt two-wheelers from the scheme.

“In case of two-wheelers, pooling would have been a limited option and it was expected that around 60-70 percent of population would have to resort to public transport. The present available public transport infrastructure is not sufficient to cater to such a huge demand,” it said.

The status report said the reduction in number of four-wheelers helps decrease the congestion on roads “which has a positive effect on vehicular pollution control”.

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