With a thick layer of smog enveloping the national capital region for three continuous days, the Delhi High Court and the National Green Tribunal on Thursday issued a slew of directions, including implementing the odd-even scheme, to improve the air quality in the city. Hours after the High Court suggested that the car rationing scheme be implemented in the city, the Delhi government decided to roll out the odd-even scheme for five days starting November 13.
The High Court also asked the government to consider “cloud seeding” as an option to induce rainfall artificially, as an immediate step to bring down the dust and particulate matter in the atmosphere. The High Court, however, asked the Delhi government the reason for quadrupling parking fees. “…If you bring the odd-even scheme for two days, we understand…But increasing parking fee? What is this thing?…If someone has to go the hospital or to buy important items, he ends up paying four times more for the parking,” the High Court bench comprising Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said.
The High Court also ordered the Union Environment Secretary to hold a meeting of the chief secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to work out a joint short-term plan to bring down air pollution in three days. Directions were also issued by the bench to the Delhi Traffic Police to ensure there is no vehicular congestion on the roads and provide masks to the personnel on duty.
Meanwhile, the NGT banned construction and industrial activities and entry of trucks and rapped the civic bodies and Delhi government over the situation. It also directed the governments of UP, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana to ensure no crop residue is burnt. The NHRC too sent notices to the Centre, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.
Exempted from following odd-even
Chief Justice of India
Speaker of Lok Sabha
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha
Chief ministers of states/Union Territories except the chief minister of Delhi
Judges of Supreme Court of India
Chairpersons, Union Public Service Commission, Chief Election Commissioner/ Election Commissioners and Comptroller and Auditor General of India
Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha Dy Speaker
Chief Justice and judges of Delhi High Court, Lokayukta
Vehicles bearing ministry of defence number plates
Vehicles which have a pilot/escort
Embassy vehicles bearing CD numbers
CNG driven vehicles with CNG stickers
Vehicles being used for medical emergencies (will be trust based)
Women-only vehicles — with children of age up to 12 years travelling with them
Vehicles driven/occupied by disabled persons
Vehicles of State Election Commission of Delhi and Chandigarh; and vehicles deployed by the commission with election observers
Vehicles carrying children in school uniform