Isn’t the ‘Odd – Even Rule’ too “odd” to be implemented in the Indian Capital?
Pollution in Delhi – the capital territory of India, is at rise. The statement by the eminent jurists declaring Delhi as “gas – chamber” has created a revolutionary environment to improvise the conditions. Is it practically possible for the guidelines of the court to effectively curb the menace of the pollution or any other measures are required? Let us analyze logically, pragmatically and scientifically.
Sources of pollution and ideal solution:
The sources of pollution include the factories, burning crops, power-plant emissions, burning of coal, wood, trash and poor quality vehicles etc.
The whole focus is on the strategy to control the traffic, vehicles and thus control the pollution. We need sufficient traffic control systems, cops and public transports etc. The rules ought to be made in order to facilitate the environment for the people to survive rather than molding laws and creating nuisance by other means.
Practical issues with the proposed ‘Odd-Even’ Rule:
The “odd-even” rule that the Delhi government plans to implement as a preventive measure to control pollution, will quite obviously encourage public to buy other vehicles with the respective number, which would most probably be – less expensive, probably of poor quality from other states or whatsoever, which may further lead to the corruption and not just pollution. According to the studies and surveys, it is revealed that only in Delhi there are 96,34,000 registered vehicles, out of which 1/3 rd (31 lakhs) are on roads every day and 15 lakh Delhiites are estimated to resort on public transport due to this “odd-even” rule. There is no explicit strategy regarding vehicles that are registered in other states.
Insufficient public transport may create burden on the government by the increased uncontrolled traffic. Private taxis and autos will either not be available or will charge exceedingly high than standards. Cities like Mexico City and Bogota, where the system has already been applied had to face failures. However, if we talk about Beijing – the capital of the People’s Republic of China, then its being non-democratic nation will certainly differentiate India in terms of law implementation.
Alternative solutions to control pollution:
It would be better to change the office hours in such a manner that the public may be diversified across different hours rather than creating traffic-buzz at the same time. Traffic-mess definitely increases pollution levels much more than what running vehicles do. Extra tax can be levied on the new purchase of cars in order to limit the number of cars on road. There must be radio frequency ID tracking tag in order to charge fine/penalty, as is done in developed countries.
At the moment, the ‘Odd and even number system’ is supposed to be applicable on registered vehicles in Delhi. To effectively implement the scheme, it is essential to improvise our public transport system in terms of DTC and metro routes. The government has planned to enforce the use of Euro-6 vehicles from 2017 onwards, which are to be implemented for other states in 2019. Badarpur Thermal Power Station (one of the coal based power plants of NTPC in Delhi) is about to be closed and Dadri Power Plant of NTPC in UP is expected to be closed by filing appeal in this regard. It is welcoming decision of the court that states that heavy vehicles be allowed in the city only after 11 pm (through 6:00 am), which were permissible starting 9 pm earlier. But before implementing this rule, the authorities need to make sure that the loading of fruits, vegetables or other goods needed in day to day life in the respective markets should not be adversely affected. Further, the requirement of traffic police is 10,000 while it is presently just 5500.
Where do we stand with regards to Pollution levels and control measures when compared with other countries ?
Even in the less polluted areas of Delhi, level of pollution is 50% more than its Chinese counterpart – Beijing. No alarm system is present to alert the public. According to Ministry of Earth Sciences, the AQI (Air Quality Index) in less polluted areas of Delhi, which ought to be approx. 50-100 standards, was found to be more than 200. Beijing, in 2013, planned with its 5 years scheme to curb the pollution-menace, controlled Air-pollution by 3%, for which it converted 288 factories into energy farms and removed 3 lakh 66 vehicles of poor quality and had spent 240 crore dollars to ensure environment protection. Red alert was declared for 3-4 days in Beijing 10 days back to get rid of side-effects of the dangerous level of pollution. Such warning alerts are lacking in India to aware public about their health.
According to the University of Texas, 80 people die every day in Delhi owing to pollution. Refer link:
Pollution in Delhi is caused by various means, such as:-
Pollution by vehicles: 63 %( 32%motorcycle, bikes etc., 28% Diesel trucks, 22% private cars)
Thermal Power Plant:-29%
In Mexico, the “odd – even rule” system of traffic-control reduced the level of pollution by 11%, which was earlier increased due to buying of poor quality cars that caused emissions of pollutants at the same levels. Can pollution ever be controlled without appropriate measures of public transport wherein only four-wheelers are at stake and two-wheelers are not included in the city like Delhi where population is estimated to be around 25 million (According to the United Nations)? Green tax has been increased to double and prohibition on burning of any type of trash including crops’ leaves etc. and will be applicable pursuant to the instructions of the Court soon.
Registration of more than 2000 CC engine fuel cars in Delhi NCR has been banned by the Supreme Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has banned the trucks registered before 2005. The trucks and commercial vehicles that do not carry goods related to Delhi shall not be permitted to enter NH8 and NH-1. All taxis will be equipped with CNG.
Proposed ‘Pollution Control’ remedies to be seriously adopted from other countries:
Indian public needs to develop discipline in the manner the citizens of Paris (France) have developed in terms of segregation of the garbage as paper, plastic and organic. Paper and plastics are utilized by recycling process whereas organic garbage is converted into bio-products and utilized further. In developed countries, the learning techniques of driving and signals understanding etc. are properly taught to the learners effectively by following the rules of the state, which is unfortunately not the case in India (at-least not to that extent). While in other countries, parking is done separately for cars, bikes, bicycles and taxis, it is not possible in India due to less width of roads and population etc. According to the surveys and studies, only in search of parking spot, 31-40 minutes are wasted in India. Disputes regarding parking are exceptionally high in Delhi and Bangalore in comparison to the other countries where Nairobi (Kenya) and Milan (Italy) stand at 3rd and 4th places respectively. Refer link:
Bottle-neck zones and road design mismanagement are also the reasons of traffic jam in Delhi at 14 places according to studies.
Although prima facie, the pollution control strategy in Delhi appears outstanding, yet adequate measures are required for its practical implementation with proper awareness in the public; then only the plans to control pollution will be successful both in spirit and in action. Success story to control pollution in Delhi may become ideal for other states of the nation in future.