Vehicles drive among the smog in New Delhi on November 2. (REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis)
New Delhi, November 4 (IANS): As Delhi battles to breathe, the third Odd-Even car rationing scheme aimed to provide relief from pollution kicked-off on Monday.
The scheme will remain in force till November 15 and the rules for this will be applicable in Delhi from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Violation of the scheme will attract a penalty of Rs 4,000, which is double the amount charged in the earlier editions of the scheme.
"Hello Delhi ! Odd Even is starting from today to reduce pollution. Do follow Odd Even for your health, your children's health and your family's breath. Share car, this will increase friendship, build relationships, save petrol and reduce pollution," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on Monday.
"Delhi will show it again," he added.
BJP leader Vijay Goel has termed the scheme as a "political gimmick" and announced that he will violate it.
What is Odd-Even?
It's a car rationing system where through vehicles running with number plates ending with even numbers like 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 will be allowed to run on even dates, while those with number plates ending with odd numbers like 1,3,5,7 and 9 will be allowed to run on odd dates. This is a way to curb the number of cars plying on streets and hence bring down the pollution emanating from vehicles to a certain extent. Though many experts have contested the logic saying vehicular pollution is not as big a concern for Delhi NCR as other forms of pollution like construction activity, the apocalyptic situation Delhi is facing right now, any move to curb any level of pollution will be an advantage for its citizenry.
Dates & Time:
The Odd-Even scheme kicked off on Monday which is November 4 and will remain in force till November 15. The rule will be applicable in Delhi from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, the rule will not be enforced on Sundays.
Who will be exempted?
* The Kejriwal government, like in the past, has exempted women from this rule, given the crime scenario in the capital. "Women driving alone, cars having all women as occupants and women accompanied by children aged less than 12 years" will also be exempted, he said.
* Vehicles used for medical emergencies during this 12-day, has also been exempted by the Delhi government.
* School children-carrying private vehicles are also allowed. On being asked how will the government determine genuine cases from false ones, the Delhi CM said it's based on "trust".
* Certain VIPs too will be exempted. The vehicles of the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, state governors, Chief Justice of India, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Union ministers, and leaders of the Opposition of both the Houses, Supreme Court judges, chairman of UPSC, chief election commissioners and CAG, deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha and deputy speaker of Lok Sabha and Lieutenant-general of Delhi and judges of High Court and members of the Lokayukta, vehicles for emergency enforcement and defence purposes will be exempted.
They will not be exempted:
* In a welcome move, vehicles of Delhi Government ministers and even the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will not be exempted from this rule.
* Unlike previous years, a move that has brought criticism, privately owned CNG vehicles will not be exempted from this time.
What will you pay for defying?
Delhi government will charge a hefty fine of Rs 4,000 for the violation of the Odd-even rule from November 4. Earlier, the penalty was Rs 2,000 for the violation. The hike in penalty for the violation of Odd-Even scheme has been suggested by the Transport department as per the amended Motor Vehicles Act.
*As many as 2,000 additional buses will be put on roads by the Kejriwal government, during November 4-15.
Additionally, all cluster buses will also be pressed into service. Entire fleet of DTC buses too will be deployed.
* Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will conduct 61 additional trips during the 12-day odd-even scheme.
No surge pricing in Ola & Uber drives:
In a breather, cab aggregators Uber and Ola have been asked to deactivate surge pricing during this period to minimise the inconvenience of Delhites. The overall Air Quality Index of Delhi remained 625 on Sunday, decreasing visibility into near zero and creating a public scare. However imperfect, Monday's Odd-even will be nothing less than a blessing for a city that has choked for days.
Controversy before start:
In a move that defies logic and has drawn criticism as it defies the purpose of the scheme, Kejriwal government has exempted two-wheelers from odd-even scheme.
A large number of two wheelers, run on fossil fuel, won't come under its strict purview, whereas even personal CNG cars, which are much cleaner will be subjected to rules this time. Political opponents of the AAP see it as an appeasement policy by the Kejriwal government whose core voter base ranges from lower middle class to poor.
The opposition has also started to raise questions over the scheme, as senior BJP leader Vijay Goel announced on Saturday that would be violating the scheme in the protest.AGoel, who is a Rajya Sabha member is considered as one of the top faces in the race of being Chief Ministerial candidate for BJP had also broken the odd-even rule and paid a fine of Rs 2,000 when the scheme was implemented by the Kejriwal government in April 2016.