Private CNG cars will not be exempted from the upcoming odd-even drive in Delhi, while women-driven vehicles meeting certain conditions will be out of its ambit, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced Saturday, keeping a decision on two-wheelers pending.
At a press conference, he said privately driven CNG cars will not be allowed to ply during the car-rationing drive, as exemption stickers given to owners of such vehicles were misused during the last two phases of the scheme in 2016, and a repeat of that “would defeat the purpose” of implementing it.
He added that staggered working hours will be implemented during the drive, which will be in force between 8 am to 8 pm from November 4-15.
“Public transport vehicles run on CNG will be exempted, but private cars won’t be. We noticed the stickers were misused at a large scale in the past. These were sold in the black market and were even pasted in cars driven on other fuels,” Kejriwal said, sitting next to Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot.
The CM said the government believes that even two-wheelers, “which cause a lot of pollution”, should be kept out of the list of exemptions, but the existing public transport infrastructure would not permit such a drastic step, which would impact at least 35 lakh motorbikes and scooters every alternate day during the drive.
“They cause a lot of pollution and odd-even should cover them. But they are large in numbers — over 50 lakh — and our public transport system is not robust enough to deal with the potential rush in the event of getting them off the roads. Where will so many buses come from? The contradictions are being studied…A decision will be taken in the next three-four days,” he said.
Gahlot said 2,000 buses are being hired, which will be put on roads during the drive. The city has around 5,500 buses currently, as against the SC-mandated strength of 11,000.
The Delhi Transport Department has told the CM in an official note that potential benefits from the odd-even scheme will be “lessened significantly” if two-wheelers are exempted as they comprise as much as 88% of the city’s vehicular fleet.
The department has suggested that staggered office hours — 11 am to 7.30 pm — be tried and two-wheelers be accordingly allowed on the roads till 11 am on odd-even days.
On Saturday, Kejriwal said an in-principle decision has been taken to implement staggered working hours during odd-even, the details of which will be shared soon.
The CM also encouraged people to opt for car-pooling, which he said is generally resorted to by car owners. On violations, he said fines in accordance with the Motor Vehicles Act will be imposed, though efforts would be made to tackle violations through appeals instead of penal measures.
“We had deployed a large number of civil defence volunteers the last time around. They don’t have enforcement powers, but the intention was to affect a change in mindset by way of polite appeals. As far as possible, we will send people back if found violating. Whenever needed, we will impose fines,” he said.
Under the amended MV Act, motorists may have to shell out as much as Rs 20,000 for violating the odd-even scheme.