With Delhi engulfed in toxic air and the AAP government rolling out the third edition of the odd-even scheme, the issue of air pollution has taken centrestage in capital’s political landscape. While AAP maintained that the “environment has not been a concern” for political parties, the BJP accused them of negligence and theatrics. The Congress, meanwhile, announced the formation of a taskforce to “prepare a white paper pointing to lapses and solutions on air pollution”.
AAP leader Gopal Rai, who was the transport minister during the previous odd-even, maintained that the “scale at which awareness was generated among residents” was the biggest achievement of the scheme.
Even as the NGT questioned the scheme, Rai defended the move while maintaining that vehicular pollution was the biggest contributor to PM 2.5. Meanwhile, the Delhi BJP continued its attack on the AAP government, alleging that it had “been negligent in preventing pollution” and claimed that they were “resorting to face saving measures like odd-even”.
Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari Friday distributed anti-pollution masks in the capital and said, “We have no reservations towards introduction of odd-even vehicle plying system but the government does not seem to be sincere about it. Odd-even has not been successful in curbing pollution, and today even the Hon’ble NGT has raised questions on the system. The NGT’s observations indicate that it feels the Kejriwal government’s efforts lack sincerity.”
The Congress called odd-even “a knee-jerk reaction” of the AAP, which was being implemented without any preparation. “Before implementing the scheme, the public transport system should have been strengthened… They have faltered on the Graded Response Action Plan. The 30 times the AQI index showed an increase in air pollutants, the government should have issued warnings and taken measures,” said Ajay Maken, DPCC president.