“Odd-Even” formula : Is it beneficial to make Delhi pollution free?

Pollution level in Delhi has raised tremendously over a past few decades. To combat this problem, Delhi Government has come up with the ambitious “odd-even” formula. The plan would come in force from January 1 to 15, between 8 am and 8 pm, except on Sundays. As per the formula, vehicles with registration number ending with an odd number will be allowed on odd-number days and those with even numbers will be allowed on even-number ones.

Cars of many dignitaries, two-wheelers, CNG-run vehicles, emergency vehicles and those driven by women drivers (with no men passengers and with only children below 12 years of age) and cars driven, or occupied by differently abled persons are exempt from the rule. Violation of the rule will invite a penalty of Rs. 2,000, which will be enforced by personnel of the Delhi Police and the Transport Department with help from 10,000 NCC and NSS volunteers who would dissuade motorists from breaking the rule.

Although this formula is   but it has its own disadvantages:-

  1. It totally depends upon motorists to make this rule a success.
  2. Instead of engaging in the hassle of carpooling, people will try to find out alternate ways to escape this problem, like having two vehicles with both odd and even registration numbers.
  3. Shortage of public transport vehicles will pose problem in successful execution of the plan.
  4. Dependence of people on public transport will increase the number of passengers in already overcrowded metros as well as buses.
  5. Students will require more time to reach to their respective destinations in order to maintain their punctuality.

These are just a few problems, but the real analysis can only be done after the implementation of the plan in January. In countries like China, it has been a great success in reducing the pollution levels. When air quality reached the level of orange, the second highest alert level in China, or were closer to the highest red level, the policy was implemented. Accordingly, the license plate number of cars determined whether they are allowed to be driven on the road between 3 am and 12 pm on days with an orange alert level. Vehicles used to transport construction waste, tanker trucks, and other heavy trucks were banned from driving in Beijing at all times on those days.

For days with air quality pending to the red alert level, eighty percent of all cars used by governmental departments and state-owned enterprises were also be off the road. The policy did not affect six types of vehicles – police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, engineering emergency vehicles, large buses, taxis, and pure electric cars.

Beijing had previously implemented the odd-even regulation during the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and later on important occasions, including the APEC meeting in 2014.It has been a huge success in Beijing, it is our responsibility to make it work in Delhi also. Delhi chief minister, Mr Arvind Kejriwal, even asked the children to probe their parents to follow the rule sincerely. Pooch-O app has been launched by Delhi Government to provide assistance to citizens during the implementation of odd-even rule to avoid any confusion.

Odd-Even rule is only one way to curb high pollution levels but there are other suggestions which will help to stop the rising air pollution in Delhi:

  • All diesel commercial vehicles older than 10 years must be banned in Delhi. Plying of such vehicles from outside the state has to be managed by Delhi Traffic Police by setting up proper checkpoints into entry into Delhi. This has to be done wisely to avoid congestions.
  • Delhi Government should work with the Haryana Government to complete the under construction Kundli-Manesar-Palwal by pass on a priority basis. Most of the civil work on this by pass has been completed and it will divert a bulk of traffic whose final destination is not Delhi.
  • Delhi government should work actively with UP government for completing Kundli -Ghaziabad –Palwal high the work on which has not even started fully. This is an important by pass and if it is not completed then the Supreme Court’s decision on commercial vehicle diversion can also not be implemented fully.
  • A practical suggestion is that petrol pumps should be instructed to check the PUC certificate before giving petrol/diesel. This used to be the norm but is not followed by petrol pumps.
  • Delhi Police should impound vehicles having dangerous level of pollution.
  • Open burning of garbage, dry leaves, rubber, synthetic clothes etc. should be made a criminal offence with a fine of Rs. 5000. Any one booked thrice for same punishable act to be liable to imprisonment for 30 days or a fine of Rs. 50,000 or both
  • Cleaning of roads with brooms should be stopped and mechanized cleaning should be deployed to prevent the dust from spreading in the air
  • Open trucks carrying construction material should be banned. They should be strictly asked to cover them so dust does not fly outside
  • Bursting of Crackers/fireworks in private functions should be banned.

By adopting some of the above mentioned habits we will be able to clean not only Delhi’s air from pollution but the whole of India’s. Clean India is every Indian’s aspiration.