The potential benefits from the odd-even scheme will be “lessened significantly” if two-wheelers are exempted, the Delhi Transport Department has observed, arguing against blanket waivers to scooters and motorbikes during the enforcement of the vehicle rationing drive from November 4-15.
Responding to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had sought to know if women, CNG cars and two-wheelers should be exempted from the scheme, the department suggested that two-wheelers be allowed to ply till 11 am on odd-even days and the Delhi government’s office opening hours also be shifted to 11 am.
However, the exemptions to women and CNG vehicles should continue, the department has said. The Delhi Traffic Police, however, has not sent its suggestions on the exemptions so far, saying they are yet to get them vetted by the Commissioner of Police.
“The expected benefits in improving the ambient air quality in the NCT of Delhi might be lessened, perhaps significantly, if carte blanche exemptions are given to all categories of two-wheelers from the restrictions to be imposed during odd-even drive,” the Transport Department note, which is now being examined by Kejriwal , states.
Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, however, told The Indian Express that two-wheelers will have to be given certain exemptions as the existing transport infrastructure will not be able absorb the load. “Staggered office hours can be implemented in case of Delhi government offices. In case of private sectors, we can just issue advisories. A considered decision will be taken soon,” he said.
The note, prepared after extensive deliberations within the department, states that around 88% of Delhi’s registered vehicles, which comes to around 66.5 lakh, are two-wheelers, fuelled completely by petrol and diesel.
Two-wheelers compliant with BS-IV emissions norms, which kicked in on April 1, 2017, are 12 lakh out of the total registered bikes. “It has been reported that the regulation for BS-IV compliance not only tightened the HC+NOx values (sum of Hydro Carbons and Oxides of Nitrogen) by 23-60% compared to existing BS-III standards but also specified independent NOX standards for two-wheelers,” the note adds.
However, since the RC (registration certificates) of bikes do not have any mention of whether they are BS-IV compliant or not, it will not be possible to exempt them despite being less polluting, a senior official said.
Since not giving any exemption would cause inconvenience to a massive number of people dependent on two-wheelers, the department has suggested that they be exempted from the scheme till 11 am on the days the policy will be enforced. Like the previous two phases, odd-even is likely to be in place between 8 am to 8 pm every day.
“It is further suggested that staggered office timings for offices of Delhi government from 11 am to 7.30 pm could be considered for the period of the drive so as to reduce inconvenience to citizens. Staggered office timings might also have a positive effect on congestion on Delhi roads, which itself adds to vehicular pollution,” the note states.