Why not stop odd-even Jan­uary 8: High Court asks Delhi govt.

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T he High court said that the odd-even pol­icy has re­sulted in prac­ti­cal dif­fi­cul­ties and asked why should the pol­icy not be stopped af­ter Fri­day. Stat­ing that there were “prac­ti­cal dif­fi­cul­ties” in im­ple­men­ta­tion of the odd-even scheme cur­rently be­ing tested in the cap­i­tal, the Delhi High Court Wed­nes­day asked the Delhi gov­ern­ment to con­sider if the pol­icy should be re­stricted to an eight-day trial pe­riod in­stead of 15 days. The bench, com­pris­ing Chief Jus­tice G Ro­hini and Jus­tice Jayant Nath, also asked the gov­ern­ment to file data on daily pol­lu­tion lev­els in the cap­i­tal from Jan­uary 1-7, and get “com­par­a­tive data” from De­cem­ber to see whether pol­lu­tion lev­els have ac­tu­ally re­duced be­cause of the pol­icy. The mat­ter will now be heard on Fri­day. “This court had not in­ter­fered in your pol­icy in De­cem­ber. Now that so many peo­ple have come and ob­jected to it, how do you re­spond?” asked the Chief Jus­tice, not­ing that the re­stric­tion on car us­age was caus­ing “in­con­ve­nience” to the pub­lic. The bench re­fused to ac­cept the ar­gu­ment put forth by Delhi gov­ern­ment stand­ing coun­sel Rahul Mehra that the pol­icy was re­quired in pub­lic in­ter­est. “As a con­cerned cit­i­zen, I don’t want my child to need a neb­u­lizer. So many peo­ple are co­op­er­at­ing fully with the pol­icy,” said Mehra. The bench, how­ever, said it “did not want a lec­ture” and in­stead re­quired data from the Gov­ern­ment. The court also pulled up the Gov­ern­ment for the “vague” sta­tus re­port it had filed, as it did not con­tain any data on pol­lu­tion lev­els. “It has been on for one week. Has there been any change in pol­lu­tion lev­els?” asked the bench. Eight

sep­a­rate PILs on var­i­ous facets of the pol­icy have been filed be­fore the court. Dur­ing the hear­ing, ad­vo­cate Ra­jiv Khosla, ap­pear­ing on be­half of the Bar As­so­ci­a­tion, said the pol­icy was “not le­gal” as there was no pro­vi­sion in the mo­tor ve­hi­cles Act to re­strict traf­fic move­ment or im­pose penalty in such a man­ner. Ac­cord­ing to Khosla’s plea, the re­stric­tion per­mit­ted un­der the Act is only on grounds of pub­lic safety and lim­ited to re­strict­ing move­ment of heavy ve­hi­cles on “un­safe” roads. Lawyers present in court also ar­gued that the “pub­lic co­op­er­a­tion” so far had been due to the “fear of penalty”. But the bench said the pi­lot project had “a good pub­lic­ity ef­fect to make peo­ple aware of the prob­lem” of traf­fic and pol­lu­tion. The court, how­ever, sug­gested that data col­lected for one week may be suf­fi­cient for the gov­ern­ment to come up with a proper pol­icy. The court also noted that the sta­tus re­port sub­mit­ted by the gov­ern­ment had ad­mit­ted that pub­lic trans­port fa­cil­i­ties are in­ad­e­quate and can­not cope with pas­sen­ger re­quire­ments. It also pointed out that the re­stric­tion of pri­vate cars has in­creased use of cabs in the city. “Are the cabs all diesel? Don’t the cabs cause pol­lu­tion?” asked the bench af­ter Mehra ad­mit­ted that diesel ve­hi­cles were still op­er­at­ing in the city as taxi cabs. Cab oper­a­tors have been given time till March 31 by the court to con­vert their cars to CNG. Mehra also sought to high­light the “ini­tia­tive” shown by high court judges who were walk­ing to court or shar­ing cars. But the bench pointed out that even though judges can car­pool or walk, there are sev­eral files that have to be moved from the court to the home of­fices of judges.”How do you think the files will travel?” asked the bench. Dur­ing ar­gu­ments, pe­ti­tioner Gun­jan Khanna also said that data avail­able on the Na­tional Air Qual­ity Index web­site did not show any change in the pol­lu­tion lev­els in the past week. “There is no rea­son­able nexus be­tween this pol­icy and the ob­jec­tive of curb­ing pol­lu­tion,” said Khanna. An­other PIL pe­ti­tioner pointed out that se­nior cit­i­zens had not been ex­empt from the pol­icy. Two PILs have also sought ex­emp­tions for lawyers, on the grounds that they are re­quired to travel to var­i­ous courts. The bench re­fused to is­sue any in­terim or­ders, but in­di­cated that it may is­sue or­ders on Fri­day.

Delhi odd-even vi­o­la­tion fines may cross Rs 1 cr by Jan 15

The Delhi Traf­fic Police have col­lected over Rs 38 lakh as fines for vi­o­la­tions un­der the odd-even re­stric­tions in the first five days of the 15-day cam­paign in the city. The odd-even car ra­tioning ex­per­i­ment was started on Jan­uary 1 as one of the first mea­sures to curb the high level of air pol­lu­tion in Delhi. Over the last five day, a to­tal of 1,938 driv­ers were pros­e­cuted and fined Rs 2,000 each for vi­o­lat­ing the rule by traf­fic police. Police be­lieved that at the end of the trial pe­riod on Jan­uary 15, the fines col­lected could cross the Rs 1 crore mark. Se­nior of­fi­cers said that the police would write to the gov­ern­ment to en­sure that the huge fine col­lected be put to use for en­sur­ing road safety mea­sures. “A pro­posal to use some por­tion of the money col­lected from traf­fic fines for road safety is al­ready pend­ing. It was an old pro­posal which has not been cleared till date,” said a se­nior of­fi­cer. On Tues­day, the police fined 114 driv­ers, col­lect­ing a fine of Rs 2.6 lakh. The Delhi gov­ern­ment’s trans­port depart­ment fined an ad­di­tional 71 driv­ers, while the rev­enue depart­ment fined 557 peo­ple. Spe­cial com­mis­sioner of police (traf­fic) Muk­tesh Chander said that af­ter Mon­day there was a very high level of com­pli­ance of the new rules. Also, there were very few traf­fic jams re­ported from across the city. Apart from peak hour nor­mal traf­fic, the con­trol room re­ceived traf­fic com­plaints from Kalkaji, af­ter a clus­ter bus broke down near the Modi Mill fly­over. An­other DTC bus broke down near Moolc­hand in the evening which caused a traf­fic jam on Ring Road. “Our men are on duty but there are very few driv­ers vi­o­lat­ing the rule. It is good that peo­ple are fol­low­ing the rules. Also the fine of Rs 2,000 is not a small amount,” he said. The highest fine col­lected was on Mon­day, when around 2,000 traf­fic police per­son­nel were posted all across the city. It was the third day of the trial run and the first when all of­fices were open af­ter the week­end. A to­tal of 1,040 driv­ers were fined on Jan­uary 4.

Arvind Ke­jri­wal, Chief Min­is­ter of Delhi

Around 743 chal­lans were is­sued on the sixth day of the Ke­jri­wal govt's am­bi­tious odd-even scheme trial

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