New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS) Delhi’s odd-even formula aimed at battling pollution may not succeed because the restrictions on vehicles carry too many exemptions, experts said on Thursday.
“The scheme is a good initiative and much appreciated. But after knowing its formal blueprint, I believe it will not suffice,” environmentalist Vikrant Tongad told IANS.
“The aim of doing this was to reduce pollution. But there are so many exemptions. This way, its benefit will be much less,” said Tongad, who works with the Delhi-based Social Action for Forests and Environment.
Anumita Roy at the Centre for Science and Environment agreed.
“The government should not have exempted two-wheelers and women drivers as they comprise a substantial number of vehicles. Of course this will reduce the effectiveness of the plan.
“Too many exemptions will cause loopholes in the attempt to reduce pollution levels… Ultimately, we need a larger master plan to reduce the poison (pollution) in the air,” Roy told IANS.
The comments came after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal unveiled the January 1-15 experimental plan to drastically reduce the number of vehicles on Delhi’s roads in a desperate bid to check rising pollution.
Under the scheme, cars with odd registration numbers would ply on odd dates and those with even numbers would run on even dates. There will be no curbs on Sundays. The scheme will be effective from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Although cars constitute nearly a third of Delhi’s almost nine million vehicular population, the decision to exempt two-wheelers, women drivers, emergency services as well as a host of VIPs has drawn flak.
Tongad said trucks and bikes were major sources of pollution but were not covered by the formula.
Officials say trucks were exempted because they were allowed into the capital only at night. Banning two-wheelers would have put, they say, too much pressure on Delhi’s already inadequate public transport.
The decision to exempt woman drivers drew varying reactions.
“Even women should voluntarily follow the odd-even formula. Let’s be equal here,” tweeted Richa Anirudh, a woman.
Added Swati Chaturvedi: “It is a health emergency. Let us give ourselves a break and give odd-even formula a chance!”
Some accused Kejriwal of bias against men.
“Where is equality when women drivers are allowed to drive anytime they want and men are forced to use public transport?” asked an incensed Shrish Gulati.
And Raj Sabharwal wanted to know if women cause less pollution. “So why discrimination against men?”