Delhi is the most polluted city in the world according to recent WHO report. Classified as the world’s fifth megacity, it has a population of 25.8 million, which continues to grow. With this growth, according to a study, the number of road vehicles would increase from 4.7 million in 2010 to nearly 26 million by 2030. The total energy consumption in Delhi has risen 57 per cent from 2001 to 2011.
A new study on air pollution in Delhi by a team of researchers led by the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom has found the city suffers from a toxic blend of geography (landlocked megacity), growth, poor energy sources and unfavourable weather that boost its dangerously high levels of air pollution.
What is Odd-Even Rule?
In view of the above threats and its devastating effects, Delhi Government started Odd -Even traffic policy on a pilot basis for 15 days starting from 1 January 2016. This measure was enforced to control vehicular pollution that contributes to heavy smog and bad air quality in the national capital.
According to this rule, on even dates, only cars with license plates ending with an even number were allowed on city roads, and on odd dates, cars with license plates ending with an odd number were allowed.
The rule was effective between Monday-Saturday between 8 AM to 8 PM. A fine of 2000 rupees was charged for non-compliance.
Further exemptions from this rule were applied to all CNG, electric and hybrid vehicles, two wheelers, women drivers, women drivers carrying children below 12 years of age, VIP vehicles, emergency vehicles like ambulance, fire, etc,
Efforts taken at various levels for success of odd even rule
The Delhi government plans to bring back the odd-even exercise not once but twice this year. The second phase, likely in April-May 2016, may do away with exemptions for women while the third, in October 2016 may include two wheelers in the scheme.
Success of odd even rule
Problems with the scheme
Having said the success and problems with the scheme, the fact remains that the per capita incomes of Delhi’s citizens are rising steadily. It stands now around 2.4 lakh per annum which is three times the national average. This point toward increasing middle class and their aspiration. Therefore, efforts are also needed at the level of educating public and spreading awareness about the benefits of using public transportation.
Further only dealing with road space rationing policy would not solve the problems solely. It has to be supported with the effective transportation policy as well.
However, irrespective of whether the odd-even scheme was effective or not, it has surely been influential not just in Delhi but all over India as well. Thus, the trial period of the odd-scheme had an impact on the nation in more ways than one.
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