No odd-even scheme until Delhi govt proves it is effective: NGT

The hearing on the matter will continue on Saturday.

No odd-even scheme until Delhi govt proves it is effective: NGT
PTI photo

NEW DELHI: Coming down heavily on the Delhi government for allegedly not doing much on the alarming pollution level in the air in the state, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday hinted to hold the odd-even scheme until proven 'productive'.

"You have made a mess of Delhi. You have done what you had to. Now we will decide what you have to do," NGT told the Kejriwal government. 

"When the situation is improving, the government is trying to implement the odd-even scheme. You should have done this earlier if you wanted to. This will now cause inconvenience to people," it added.

"Small cars are not a serious contributor to pollution. Heavy diesel vehicles are a problem. Has odd-even been productive in reducing pollution level? Tell us if the 500 new buses you are putting on the roads are diesel vehicles or CNG," the green court said. It also asked the Delhi government to explain why women and two-wheelers have been exempted from the odd-even scheme. 

Hinting to put a brake on the odd-even car scheme, the NGT directed the counsel appearing for the Delhi government to prove if the scheme benefitted in controlling the pollution when implement previously. 

"Prove whether the odd-even scheme reduced the pollution in the air or else we will stay the imposition of the scheme," it said. 

"The Supreme Court never asked for imposition of this scheme. Both SC and NGT suggested 100 measures to curb pollution but you always opted for odd-even. Delhi government will have to justify the implementation of this scheme."

"We will put justification for odd-even to NGT tomorrow," the Delhi government in a response to NGT said. 

While hearing the matter, the NGT asked the Delhi government to impose a fine of Rs 1 lakh on builders found violating directions, as construction work has been halted in view of smog and air pollution. 

It also directed states to ensure that there should be no crop burning. "If any incident is reported to NGT, a considerable amount of fine will be charged from the salary of the responsible officer," the tribunal asserted. 

Pulling up the Punjab government, it asked the Amarinder Singh government to take immediate measures. "Act immediately or we will attach government treasury," it said. 

Meanwhile, the hearing on the matter will continue on Saturday.

In the afternoon today, the NGT chaired a meet to examine the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government's odd-even car rationing scheme for five days, starting from November 13. 

Earlier, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had directed the Delhi government to submit before it the details of the ambient air quality during the earlier implementation of the odd-even scheme. 

The national capital is experiencing 'severe' air quality under a blanket of thick haze, as pollution levels have breached permissible standards by multiple times.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has recorded 'severe' air quality, meaning that the intensity of pollution was extreme. 

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