FOR THE last one week, Cabinet ministers in the NDA government were gearing up to tackle the odd-even car initiative that was launched today on a pilot basis by the AAP government in Delhi.
Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was able to manage her busy schedule because her staffers opted for car-pooling to reach office. Power Minister Piyush Goyal was out of Delhi but had purchased a Toyota Hybrid car for his family. And Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan used his official car with registration numbers that ended with an odd digit — tomorrow he will use his private car with an even number as the last digit. Asked about the odd-even initiative of the Arvind Kejriwal government, which has been at odds with the Centre on a number of issues, Pradhan said, “It is a good initiative but not sufficient.”
Pradhan said the total CNG dispensation capacity in NCR is 68 lakh kg per day against a demand of 2.2 lakh kg, and pointed out that most staffers in his office use CNG-based vehicles.
Asked about the political tussle between the Kejriwal-led AAP government and Centre over tackling pollution in Delhi, Pradhan said, “I am not against the scheme. I totally support what the honourable Chief Justice of Supreme Court has said. I am not taking any political stance at all. Anything that can save the environment is welcome. I heard AAP (Health) Minister Satyendar Jain speak the other day. He was political. I have only one thing to say. Reducing congestion on roads is not enough. Reduce the actual level of emission. Let us reduce pollutants.”
Last month, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur had expressed support for the odd-even initiative, saying that “it is the least we (judges) can do if it can actually help the environment”.
Pradhan added, “Under the Green Home, Green City initiative, we have suggested to convert diesel-based or petrol-based vehicles using CNG-kits. We have tied up with ICICI bank to get cheap loans. Also, we have announced that CNG would be cheap between 12 am and 5 am.”
Pradhan said, “The odd-even formula will reduce use of cars on Delhi roads. It will reduce congestion. It may create problems for some but it may work. However, it is not a long-term sustainable model. This can be one initiative among many needed to tackle environment pollution. There are 5 lakh CNG car users, we have to increase the number.”
Unrealistic for Goa: Parrikar
ENS adds from Goa: Expressing reservations over the Delhi government’s odd-even formula for cars, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said that the solution is unrealistic for his home state Goa. “Being a tourist destination, most of the vehicles entering Goa are from neighbouring states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. How can we sort out even from the odd-numbered vehicles or how can we discriminate one from another?” he said on the sidelines of the foundation laying ceremony here.