The Delhi high court asked the Aam Aadmi Party government on Wednesday why it can’t restrict its traffic rationing scheme to this week, saying inconvenience was being caused to commuters.
A division bench of Chief Justice of the Delhi HC G Rohini and justice Jayant Nath asked the government to submit empirical data collected on level of air pollution during the first half of the 15-day trial period of the even-odd scheme.
“Why don’t you confine it to one week? Why do you need to have it for 15 days?” the bench asked and said “there is no sufficient public transport” to support the scheme.
For 15 days from January 1, private cars are being allowed on the city’s roads every other day to try to reduce pollutant levels, which regularly hit 10 times the World Health Organization’s safe limits.
Cars with odd-numbered licence plates have been directed to ply on odd-numbered dates, and those with even-numbered plates on the other days.
The Delhi government’s standing counsel Rahul Mehra said the decision was taken to decrease the air pollution level in the capital. “We are doing it for the people of the city and for the future generation. One out of three children born here said respiratory problems,” Mehra said, adding that initial data showed a drop in the air pollution level.
In a status report submitted to the court, the AAP government defended its decision to exempt two-wheelers from the scheme. “In case of two-wheelers, pooling would have been a limited option and it was expected that around 60-70% of the population would have to resort to public transport. The present available public transport infrastructure is not sufficient to cater to such a huge demand,” the report said.
It said the reduction in the number of four-wheelers helps decrease the congestion on roads, “which has a positive effect on vehicular pollution control”.
The Delhi government’s temporary initiative to check alarming air pollution has come under fire from the day it was announced and the latest petition too has sought the quashing of the administration’s December 28, 2015, notification bringing the scheme into force for 15 days from January 1.
( Source – PTI )