Delhi pollution: NGT slams govt, SC to hear plea over rising smog

Joy Montgomery
November 14, 2017

Demanding exemption for women drivers and two-wheelers for "this year", the Delhi government on Monday filed a review petition at the NGT, two days after it made a decision to halt the traffic rationing scheme after the green court flayed the exemptions.

The tribunal had protested the exemption of women, arguing that rationing had to be applied across the board in order for it to work.

He also claimed that the air pollution in Punjab and Haryana was worse than Delhi.

Al Jazeera's Charlotte Bellis explains. The decision was announced hours after the National Green Tribunal's conditional acceptance of the odd-even scheme which demanded the scrapping of exemptions for women and two-wheelers.

Will the NGT, the Delhi government or the Delhi Police guarantee my safety? However, unhappy with the NGT order, the Delhi government expressing its inability to enforce the odd-even scheme and said it will move the Tribunal on Monday requesting a review of its order and if the exemptions are granted.

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The Delhi government had chose to shut down schools for five days after the air quality index reached severe levels. "The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a petition filed by advocate RK Kapoor which seeks immediate measures to check the rising pollution in Delhi and it's surrounding areas, which has become an worldwide headline for a week now", reports said. Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who was arguing against the Delhi government in the earlier case related to odd-even told Firstpost that the Delhi government still has time to file a review petition. If they are not exempted from odd-even scheme, they may shift to public transportation. The government, he added, does not have enough public transport alternatives to accommodate over 6 million two-wheelers.

The global permissible limit for PM2.5 - particles in air with diameter less than 2.5mm - is 25 units (micro gram per cubic metre), while for India it is 60 units. "It is hard to say what the outcome of this exercise was", says Saransh Sharma who is a parent of a school-going child at a Delhi government school.

Delhi is not the only Indian city with toxic air. It has been a week that health emergency is declared in Delhi as hazardous smog clouds the region, making it unsafe for the people to breath.

On the implementation of the odd-even plan, the Green Court said that "By this scheme, you are only encouraging people to buy more vehicles and allowing more inter-state traffic".

According to the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the EPCA, the measures to be enforced in "severe-plus" or "emergency" category include odd-even vehicular restriction scheme.

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