The local government in Indian capital of New Delhi on Saturday cancelled its plan to implement odd-even vehicle rationing formula from Monday aimed at reducing the blanket of smog enveloping the city and outskirts, officials said.
With the toxic smog continuing to suffocate people in the Delhi-NCR region, the air quality was back to "severe-plus" or "emergency" category on Monday - for the second time in past six days - even as the Kejriwal government urged the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to allow exemptions for women drivers and two-wheelers for "this year" in implementation of the odd-even traffic restriction scheme.
There were speculations that the Delhi government may not file a review petition against the NGT order as a separate petition filed by a citizen is up for hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday afternoon.
However, Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot said the Delhi government could not compromise on the safety of women.
The bench, headed by NGT chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar, said that the government has not implemented all the measures suggested for pollution control and has only gone after the odd-even scheme.
"We can not ignore the pollution", the Supreme Court bench said, adding that it will hear the plea today itself after finishing the matters listed on its board. The smog situation in the National Capital has been deteriorating for nearly past one week. The harassment one goes through as a woman using public transport was enough to prompt me to put my savings into a depreciating asset; it wasn't just a vehicle for me, it was my independence.
He also warned that though the current situation will be tackled somehow, but the Delhi government should take up solid long-term comprehensive measures, otherwise Delhi will be forced to face such a crisis again. The review petition co-incided with the re-opening of schools in the city amid hazardous levels of air pollution.
The decision to impose the formula was made in wake of rising air pollution levels in the national capital.
Ghaziabad was the most polluted city in the entire NCR with an AQI of 500 and PM2.5 at an astounding 816 units at 4.00 p.m - over 32 times the safe limit.
Under the arrangement, private cars with odd registration numbers are allowed to run on odd dates while even-numbered cars will ply on even dates.
"The state government still went ahead with the scheme, even though their own Delhi Pollution Board said it was not effective, and in fact, worsened the situation in phase-1 and phase-2".
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