The Delhi government’s decision, to allow cars with even and odd registration numbers on roads only on alternate days, was discussed on Monday in the Rajya Sabha with a member questioning its practicality and another calling it “weird”.
However, there was a general consensus in the upper house that steps needed to be taken to reduce air pollution in the national capital.
“Half of the cars (in Delhi) will not be on roads. The Delhi transport system capacity is not capable of ferrying so many people,” Congress member Pramod Tiwari said while raising the issue during Zero Hour.
“It does not consider how patients or their caretakers will reach hospital. How will children reach schools? What about those coming from outstation,” he asked.
“They are not focusing on public transport and now the situation will be even more difficult. They talk about the common people, but possibly only those with two cars are common people for them,” the Congress leader said referring to the Delhi government.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, however, stressed that something needed to be done to control pollution in the national capital.
“Are we not to do at least something to reduce air pollution? Remember, one of the main reasons for climate change is carbon emission… so something has to be done,” he said.
Delhi MP Karan Singh said drastic steps needed to be taken, but called the Aam Aadmi Party government’s decision “weird”. “Certainly, something drastic has to be done. But what is going to happen to one-car families? How are they going to get their children to school, go to office? This is a weird suggestion; it should be reconsidered. Other suggestions should be looked at… we will all cooperate,” he said.
Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that, while the central government favoured reduction in pollution, the solution should be “practical”.
“It is a Delhi government order… the feeling of Pramod-ji or the house, we feel, is that there should be a reduction in pollution, but it should be practical. We think the members are worried about its practical applicability. But we support that pollution should be reduced,” he said.
The deputy chairman agreed that while the decision could be accepted in theory, its practicality was in question.
However, a staunch support for the move came from former environment minister Jairam Ramesh, who called it a “step forward”. “In India, there are always 10 problems for every solution. This is one step forward; give it a chance to be tried and it will make drastic change in pollution levels in Delhi. I dissociate myself thoroughly from Pramod Tiwari,” the Congress leader said.