No exemption for private CNG vehicles during odd-even this time
The suggestions of the department regarding odd-even road rationing plan have been approved by transport minister Kailash Gahlot, sources said, and sent to the chief minister for a final decision.
A transport official said the department discussed all categories of vehicles to firm up its final suggestions. “It was decided that women drivers should continue to enjoy exemption from the scheme as it is important from the safety point of view,” an official said.
The rationale behind exempting women from the previous edition of the scheme was that women in Delhi feel a sense of security in their own vehicles for travelling and should be permitted to take the safest mode of transport.
All vehicles driven by women, with women as co-travellers or schoolgoing children in uniform up to the age of 12 are likely to be exempt, in order to ensure that mothers are free to ferry their children to and from school. Kejriwal had directed the department to consider the implementation of this exemption and share its views on repeating the same for this year’s odd-even.
In previous editions of the scheme, all two-wheelers had been exempt and the department felt the exemption should continue partially. “We have suggested that two-wheelers should only be exempt during office hours, that is, from 8am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm” the official said.
The reason the exemption for two-wheelers is likely to continue is because the city’s public transport system is not robust enough to accommodate the increased load. Delhi has over 70 lakh twowheelers. If these are not exempt, over 35 lakh persons, other than lakhs of pillion riders, will have to switch to public transport and the Delhi Metro and bus fleet will not be able to cater to this surge, the official said.
All CNG-run vehicles enjoyed exemption in the past but that may change this time around. The Delhi government’s transport department has said that non-commercial CNGrun vehicles should not be kept out of the odd-even restrictions.
“There have been reports of largescale misuse of this exemption in the previous editions of odd-even. Also, traffic police personnel find it very difficult to identify CNG-run vehicles from a distance as the CNG stickers on windshields are not prominently visible till the vehicle comes very close,” the official said.
“The transport department has also suggested that there should be staggered timings for offices, starting with Delhi government offices. We have suggested that all Delhi government offices should open at 11am and close at 7.30pm,” he said.
Others who will continue to enjoy the exemption include the vehicles of the president, vice-president, Prime Minister, central ministers, chief justice of India, vehicles of governors and chief ministers of other states, embassy vehicles and those bearing ministry of defence number plates.
The Delhi government had earlier implemented the odd-even scheme twice – in January and April 2016 – while the third edition in December 2017 had to be called off at the last moment after the National Green Tribunal refused to exempt two wheelers from the scheme, saying that there shall be no exemption to any persons, officer and individual and the two-wheelers from the ambit and scope of the odd-even scheme.
The odd-even scheme was introduced by the Aam Aadmi Party government as a novel measure to combat vehicular pollution, especially during the winter season. In the scheme, odd and even numbered vehicles ply on alternate working days.
Under the graded response action plan (GRAP), it is to be implemented when the particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5 rise to 500 microgram per cubic metre and 300 microgram per cubic metre, respectively, for 48 hours.