Updated: December 26, 2016 3:33:08 am
The odd-even scheme under the Supreme Court-mandated ‘graded response to air pollution’ action plan will not be implemented in the national capital this winter, with the Centre stating that it will take time to set up a legally valid framework for the same. Union Environment Minister Anil Dave said a detailed framework for the plan, prepared and submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to the apex Court earlier this month, will be out in January, 2017 and implemented next winter.
The CPCB had submitted the action plan with measures such as enforcement of the odd-even road rationing scheme, suspension of construction activities and possible shutting of schools in Delhi if pollution levels remained in the “severe” category. On December 2, the Supreme Court accepted the action plan and asked the Centre to notify it in early December. However, the Union Environment Ministry said it will be able to prepare a detailed framework only by next month.
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“We are discussing the possible standards (of air pollution gradations) to be set. State pollution control boards are being consulted. The details will be shared in January,” Dave said. A senior environment ministry official said, “The Supreme Court has asked us to notify it under the Environment Protection Act. There is a process involved and that has started. Even if the draft is put out, it has to be kept in public domain for at least two months.” Bhurelal, Chariman of the Supreme Court-appointed EPCA which has been tasked with enforcing the action plan, said, “We are waiting for the Centre’s notification. We will enforce the plan as soon as we get the formal notification of the framework from the Centre.”
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On December 20, Transport Minister Satyendar Jain had said the government needed more time to create awareness and prepare for the odd-even scheme. Referring to the two-day window for implementation of the odd-even scheme in the “severe” category, Jain had said, “The scheme will come into effect only after the Delhi government has had sufficient time to create awareness about it. We can’t just wake up one morning and say odd-even will be effective from today. We have to sensitise people before that.” However, he refused to comment on the Centre’s announcement.
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