Paris: Former union minister Jairam Ramesh described as "good step" the Delhi government's decision to implement 'odd-even' restrictions for plying of private vehicles and said he had once suggested a similar move to Sheila Dikshit during her stint as chief minister.
Ramesh, who is in Paris to attend a two-day GLOBE COP21 Legislators Summit in the National Assembly, said vehicles of state and central government ministers should also be part of the ban and no exemption should be given.
He said that if implemented seriously, the decision will have "constructive impact".
When asked about Union Minister Maneka Gandhi's remarks that India is one of the main contributors to the global warming and needs to do much more, Ramesh said although he has not read or heard the comments, it is a fact that climate change is a serious issue in India and steps should be taken aggressively to tackle it.
"In May 2010 when I was in Beijing, I saw their government had come out with a policy that one can take out car once in two days. At that time Beijing was one of the most polluted cities. I had told Sheila Dikshit to look into it and see whether one can do so in Delhi. She said she would get it examined as public transport was a problem.
"Taking into account the present situation of pollution in Delhi, the Delhi government's decision is absolutely correct. But at the same time, we cannot run away from the fact that we have to strengthen our public transport. But in the last five years the way metro has increased and is being used, if this new policy is seriously implemented, it will have a constructive impact," Ramesh said.
The Delhi government has announced to restrict the number of cars on roads from January 1. Cars with odd and even registration numbers can run on alternate days. It came a day after the Delhi High Court termed the city a "gas chamber".
"The government vehicles should also be included in the ban. In Beijing, government vehicles were exempted but here, no one should be exempted. Government vehicles are one of the biggest culprits of pollution," the former minister said when asked whether vehicles of ministers should be allowed.
"In the last five years, metro has increased. It is a good step forward. It is a good starting point. It shows that government is serious about the issue," Ramesh said, adding that there should be a mandatory fuel efficiency standard in the country to help reduce pollution.