DELHIAIRQUALITYSLIGHTLYBETTER, NGTREJECTSPLEAFOREXEMPTIONS

The Free Press Journal - - NATION -

Air qual­ity in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion saw a mar­ginal im­prove­ment from "se­vere plus" to "se­vere" on Tues­day while the Na­tional Green Tri­bunal turned down a Delhi gov­ern­ment plea for ex­emp­tions from the odd-even traf­fic scheme.

The Delhi gov­ern­ment made the fresh plea be­fore the top green court that the odd-even scheme for four­wheel­ers be im­ple­mented in neigh­bour­ing states with ex­emp­tions for women and two-wheel­ers for a year.

A study re­leased on Tues­day con­firmed fears about ad­verse health con­se­quences due to toxic air breathed in by Delhi res­i­dents for the past seven days and said that air pol­lu­tion had caused six per cent of the to­tal dis­ease bur­den in the coun­try in 2016.

Delhi Chief Min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal is slated to meet his Haryana coun­ter­part Mono­har Lal Khat­tar in Chandi­garh on Wed­nes­day to dis­cuss the rag­ing is­sue of stub­ble-burn­ing.

Pun­jab Chief Min­is­ter Amarinder Singh, how­ever, re­jected Ke­jri­wal's plea for the meet­ing on stub­ble­burn­ing and asked him to re­frain from "try­ing to politicise a se­ri­ous is­sue".

The Delhi gov­ern­ment's fresh plea be­fore the NGT came hours af­ter the tri­bunal turned down its first re­view pe­ti­tion to seek ex­emp­tions in the odd-scheme for two-wheel­ers and women drivers.

The Delhi gov­ern­ment had de­cided to im­ple­ment the odd-even ve­hi­cle scheme from Novem­ber 13-17, with ex­emp­tion to women drivers and two-wheel­ers as in pre­vi­ous two ex­er­cises.

Re­ject­ing the pe­ti­tion, the NGT had said there was "no logic" to the Delhi gov­ern­ment pro­posal.

In the sec­ond re­view pe­ti­tion, the Delhi gov­ern­ment sought im­ple­men­ta­tion of the odd-even scheme in neigh­bour­ing states as well, or at least part of the NCR, in­clud­ing places in Pun­jab, Haryana and Ut­tar Pradesh, stat­ing that they had a cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect on Delhi's air qual­ity.

"Di­rect neigh­bour­ing states to im­ple­ment the odd­e­ven scheme," said the new re­view pe­ti­tion of the Delhi gov­ern­ment.

De­fend­ing its de­mand for ex­emp­tion for women drivers from the odd-even scheme, the Delhi gov­ern­ment pointed to the com­fort of women drivers and con­tin­ued to de­mand it in the new pe­ti­tion.

"Such women will not feel com­fort­able while trav­el­ling in heav­ily crowded buses," the fresh pe­ti­tion said, adding that the Delhi gov­ern­ment would oth­er­wise need at least 2,500 ad­di­tional buses to ac­com­mo­date women and two-wheeler rid­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment, there are over 68 lakh two-wheel­ers in Delhi, of which 25 lakh ply on the roads daily.

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