Road rationing schemes such as “odd-even” will do little to reduce pollution in Delhi, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.
“Delhi’s pollution problem is a complex one. Schemes like odd-even alone cannot solve it. There is vehicular pollution, smog, adverse weather conditions, etc,” Gadkari told reporters, while reviewing the progress of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, whose first leg, he said, would open next month.
He also said the ministry is considering using vacuum cleaners in highway projects to reduce construction dust. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway is the country’s first 14-lane highway with a 2.5-metre cycle track. It is being completed in a record 14 months, against the scheduled 30 months, Gadkari said.
“The expressway will reduce the travel time significantly from Delhi to Meerut to just 45 minutes from the current 3-4 hours,” he added.
Gadkari said the project, which includes a six-lane expressway in the middle and a four-lane highway on both sides, will help curb pollution in Delhi by diverting traffic from other states such as Uttarakhand.
He said measures jointly taken by the Centre and state governments can reduce pollution. Gadkari said he has communicated to the Ministry of Environment and Forests that research on changing climatic conditions and pollution needs to be conducted. Gadkari had last week directed the NHAI to sprinkle water on road construction sites so that construction dust does not add to air pollution in and around Delhi. Gadkari said 75% work in the first phase of the expressway — from Nizamuddin bridge to Delhi-UP border — is complete.