Delhi government calls off its odd-even scheme despite NGT clearance

Delhi government calls off its odd-even scheme despite NGT clearance

The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) initiative of the government said Delhi's air "may see increase in pollution levels" due to meteorological factors and that a clearer picture would emerge after Tuesday.

Demanding exemption for women drivers and two-wheelers for "this year", the Delhi government on Monday filed a review petition at the NGT, two days after it chose to halt the traffic rationing scheme after the green court flayed the exemptions.

The Delhi government counsel said that from next year, with better preparation, it would be in a position to implement the odd-even scheme without any exemption.

India's smog-choked capital has called off a plan to restrict private vehicle use after the country's top environmental court ruled women, VIPs and two-wheelers could not be exempt.

Earlier, NGT on Friday asked the Delhi government to submit data or studies on the basis of which it has planned to introduce the odd-even auto rationing formula from next week.

However, Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot said the Delhi government could not compromise on the safety of women. It has been a week that health emergency is declared in Delhi as hazardous smog clouds the region, making it risky for the people to breath.

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The local government's decision was announced after a cabinet meeting that followed hours after India's environmental court, National Green Tribunal (NGT), granted a conditional permission to the authorities for the scheme.

The worldwide permissible limit for PM2.5 - particles in air with diameter less than 2.5mm - is 25 units (micro gram per cubic metre), while for India it is 60 units.

Reports also said, "There was no lawyer from the Delhi government's side present at the hearing that the latter had itself requested". She also added that Kejriwal government had not even thought that it was necessary to make alternative arrangements to keep a back up plan ready if things don't go as planned with the odd even.

On Saturday, the green court gave the go ahead to the odd-even scheme and disapproved of all the exemptions that were given during the previous two phases of odd-even in January and April 2016.

The directive was issued by agriculture ministry in wake of the increasing levels of pollution in New Delhi. "No single person, government or organisation can improve the air quality of Delhi", Khattar wrote to Kejriwal, also asking him what steps has the AAP taken to check stubble burning within the national capital.

Delhi's air, among the world's dirtiest, worsens in the winter months.