NEW DELHI -- The second phase of the odd-even traffic-control formula will be enforced in the national capital from April 15 to April 30, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced today.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Kejriwal said feedback collected over emails, phone calls, and in public meetings, revealed that 81 percent of residents wanted the government to bring back the scheme, which allows odd and even numbered cars on Delhi roads on alternate days, and 60 percent wanted this to be a permanent plan.
"We are considering whether this can be implemented for 15 days, every month, but we will only decide that after the second phase is over," he said.
Faced with a public outcry over alarming levels of air pollution in Delhi, ranked as the worst in the world by WHO, the first phase of the odd-even scheme was implemented from Jan 1-15.
Even though it forced people to make alternate arrangements like carpools and use public transport, the scheme was well received by Delhi residents, who contend with pollution and traffic jams every day.
The scheme also had a fair share of detractors who slammed the Delhi government for inconveniencing residents without having adequate public transportation in place, and they also questioned whether the odd-even rule was even the right way to go about tackling air pollution.
So far, there isn't much clarity on the success of the odd-even scheme. Studies carried out by different groups haven't pinned down just how far this rule managed to bring down air pollution in the capital.
While the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment said that the odd-even campaign brought down direct emissions of pollutants from cars by 30 to 40 percent, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data tells a different story. According to CPCB, there is no obvious reduction in the level of any of the pollutants in Delhi after the scheme was implemented.
Underlining the need for public transportation to be strengthened before the odd-even scheme could be made permanent, Kejriwal promised to put 3,000 new buses on the streets by December.
The Delhi government settled on April 15 because the Board Exams end on April 12, Kejriwal told reporters.
Once again, women and VIPs will be exempt from the scheme which runs from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 pm barring weekends.
The feedback collected by the Delhi government also revealed that majority of residents were against exemptions for VIPs, Kejriwal said.