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April 04, 2017 @ 01:15 PM

Delhi Odd Even car formula worked more on parties than pollution

Published: Wednesday, 20 January, 2016 09:30 AM

Delhi Odd Even car formula worked more on parties than pollution

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Read and develop points for discussion on GD Burning topic: Delhi Odd Even car formula worked more on parties than pollution
 

As the Hon’ble Supreme Court expressed its serious intent to check pollution in the capital by banning registration of diesel SUVs and high end vehicles with engine capacity of over 2000 cc until 31 March 2016 and stopping entry of goods vehicles not bound for the national capital, the Delhi government led by the AamAadmi Party was stirred into taking some action. In what was termed as a knee-jerk reaction by many, the government announced an ambitious odd-even formula, which allows odd and even cars on alternate days for a period of 15 days beginning 1st January 2016.

A. Delhi, the national capital, is also one of the most polluted cities in the world. Road dust, biomass burning, vehicles, industries are some of the major causes of pollution in Delhi. The plan to control the number of vehicles on the road by following the odd-even policy has a precedence. This policy was implemented in Beijing, China just before the 2008 Olympics and it helped cut air pollution by up to 40%. The Delhi government must have hoped for a similar result in Delhi. 

B. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The odd-even formula is a desperate attempt by the AAP government to curb the pollution levels in the city. What this plan has done more than anything else is that it has brought pollution to the centrestage of discussion. The plan has woken up the middle class, the primary target, to realise the seriousness of the situation and support the plan. The people of Delhi love their cars but with a fine of Rs 2000, they were forced to toe the line.

C. The plan, however, was received with scepticism. It provided yet another opportunity to political parties to take pot shots at each other. Many felt that this scheme alone could not be enough to solve the menace of pollution. Given that the public transport system of Delhi leaves a lot to be desired, the odd-even plan was doomed to fail. Lack of public buses, crowded metro trains poor last mile connectivitycompel people to buy vehicles. The government was doing little on these accounts, therefore, the plan wouldn’t work. Many attacked the government for failing to come up with a long-term and sustainable plan to check pollution. 

D. I agree that the plan is being looked at with scepticism. For instance, the BJP called the plan a ’faulted exercise’ that was ‘bound to fail’. While the policy has provided fodder to the opposition parties to attack the government, its impact on the pollution levels of the city is yet to be determined. While there has been a visible reduction of traffic on the road, especially during peak hours, the various exemptions provided to two-wheelers, women drivers, cabs and others have neutralised the impact. While the government was quick to declare the plan a success, analysis of PM (particulate matter) by ‘IndiaSpend’ reveals that air pollution levels in Delhi rose 50% during the first week (January 1 to 7, 2016) of the implementation of the plan over the previous week (December 25 to 31, 2015). 

E. The intention behind the plan is, indeed, laudable. Any plan to control air pollution, which is the cause of many cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, needs to be tried. By forcing schools across the city to remain shut, the government is desperate to make its policy work. Because, if the schools were to remain open, there will be a big burden on the public transport. The schools were also asked to provide school buses for public transport to increase capacity. The results, therefore, will not give the true picture of whether the situation has improved or not. 

F. Also, the plan is bound to cause a lot of inconvenience to the citizens.The penalty of Rs 2000 for violating the rule, overcrowded metro trains, lack of proper public transport, risk associated with car-pooling in an unsafe city like Delhi, is bound to frustrate the common man. 
 

There is a high possibility that the odd-even plan will turn out to be a mere symbolic gesture, without any significant improvement in the pollution levels of the city. A holistic plan is required which tackles all sources of air pollution, besides vehicles. Until the government comes with such a plan that shows its commitment in tackling the issue, it will remain open to criticism from its opposition.

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