MPs follow odd-even scheme; more vehicles to ferry lawmakers (Roundup)

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New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) Even as Delhi Police said no parliamentarian was challaned for the violation of the odd-even scheme on Wednesday, authorities said arrangements were made to ply sufficient number of vehicles to ferry MPs on days the scheme will remain in force.

In a novel protest against the Delhi government’s odd-even scheme, Bharatiya Janata Party’s MP Ram Prasad Sharma came to parliament riding a horse.

Sharma, who represents Tezpur constituency in Assam, had a placard around his horse’s neck that read ‘Pollution Free Vehicle’. Northeast Delhi’s MP Manoj Tiwari of the BJP rode a bicycle to parliament.

No significant rise in the number of challans by the transport department was witnessed on the 13th day of the odd-even scheme compared with Tuesday. There were reports of traffic snarls from only a few parts of the national capital.

IANS sought views of Bhartruhari Mahtab of Biju Janata Dal, Tapan Kumar Sen of Communist Part of India-Marxist and D.P. Tripathi of Nationalist Congress Party on the odd-even scheme but they declined.

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The second phase of the scheme started on April 15 and will end on April 30.

Traffic police officials told IANS that no MP was caught violating the scheme on Wednesday. They said the last challan to any parliamentarian was issued on April 25.

While the Delhi government discontinued its special bus service for MPs due to poor response, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said it had made arrangements to ferry MPs to beat the odd-even traffic curbs.

Lok Sabha Secretary D. Bhalla said it was up to the Delhi government to decide if MPs should be exempted in “national interest” while they attend parliament sessions.

“The MPs have never refused to follow the odd-even scheme. The question is whether the MPs are required for national duty. It is for the Delhi government to decide if it is an essential duty which should be exempted from the scheme,” Bhalla told reporters here.

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He said 25 vehicles were at the disposal of parliament to ferry parliamentarians to and from their residence to Parliament House, including 10 of the Lok Sabha secretariat and eight of the Rajya Sabha. Seven vehicles were from the Delhi Transport Corp.

However, 13 vehicles were available on even dates and 12 vehicles on odd dates.

Besides, nine vehicles had been hired from India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).

Bhalla said six low-floor DTC buses arranged by the Delhi government to transport MPs were returned after the first day of parliament session on April 25, for which Rs.12,000 were paid as hiring charges.

“Nine air-conditioned vehicles were hired from the ITDC. Further, 10 vehicles have been arranged from the parliament security service to ensure smooth transport of MPs,” a Lok Sabha secretariat statement said.

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The secretariat has since empowered officials to take decisions on hiring vehicles for MPs without prior approval.

Meanwhile, former Delhi state BJP president Vijay Goel protested on Wednesday as well against the odd-even curbs by putting posters and stickers on his sport utility vehicle.

Transport department officials said 458 people were challaned for not following the scheme on Wednesday. The figure was 452 on Tuesday.

Delhi also saw a marginal rise in the particulate pollution levels. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, under the earth sciences ministry, said particulate matter pollution (PM 2.5) rose from 132.3 on Tuesday to 138.3.

The corresponding figures for PM 10 level was 244.6 and 284.3, it said.



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