New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday pulled up the Arvind Kejriwal government over its odd-even car rationing scheme, saying it is “half-baked” and despite its implementation, air quality in Delhi-NCR continues to be severe.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said the odd-even scheme, which ends Friday, was not a long-term solution to Delhi-NCR’s air crisis and that “public transport should have been strengthened”.
“It is only the middle and lower classes who are affected by odd-even. Affluent people have a lot of cars,” said Justice Mishra to the Delhi government, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, when it defended the car rationing scheme.
The court asked the government about the pollution level last year when the scheme was not implemented. However, on perusal of the figures cited, the court observed, “Odd-even was not applicable last year, this year both (figures) are same.”
Under the scheme, four-wheeled vehicles with registration numbers ending with an odd digit (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) were not be allowed on the roads on November 4, 6, 8, 12 and 14.
Similarly, vehicles with registration numbers ending with an even digit (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) were not be allowed on the roads on November 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15.
Pollution levels in the city dropped marginally Friday morning due to a slight increase in wind speed, but the air quality remained in the “severe” category.
SC expressed concern over stubble burning
The Supreme Court also expressed concern over stubble burning and asked the Punjab and Haryana governments why it was not being controlled.
The Punjab government informed the top court that compensation worth Rs 90 crore was paid to about 30,690 farmers. “Large-scale monitoring is taking place. A lot of hard work taking place, since previous order,” it said.
The court directed the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi to appear on 25 November, and submit compliance reports.
The top court also asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to check vehicles, trucks and three-wheelers that are using “polluting fuel” and submit a report in 7 days. “In case it is found that polluting fuel is used, not only the owner but the officials will also be liable,” ordered the SC.
At the court, Justice Mishra was told by an IIT-Bombay expert that a Chinese technology could be used to set up air purification towers across Delhi, which could reduce air pollution by 65 per cent, but it will take 8 months.
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