The second phase of Odd-Even rule commenced in the national capital on 15 April. The vehicles running in Delhi will remain under the limitation till April 30, when the phase will come to an end. The so-talked about Odd-Even rule made a comeback after its first trial in January which lasted for 15 days. Delhi government led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had then only made it clear that the rule would be brought back after considering the changes that its phase one would made. So here it is, the second phase, with almost same rules, exemption for two-wheeler, three-wheeler, commercial vehicles, CNG-fitted vehicles, women driver, four-wheeler with school students inside and two wheeler.
The Odd-Even rule applies only for private cars, in which the cars with odd numbers registration plates are allowed to run on odd days and vice-versa. The Delhi government started the initiative in the national capital as an attempt to reduce population. The vehicles emit poisonous gas CO2, major air pollutant and Delhi is one of the cities across the world with record air pollution.
While the move was largely appreciated by Delhiites as it was taking less time for them to reach their destination, the lifeline of Delhi transport, Delhi metro witnessed peak footfall causing serious trouble to passengers. The opposition leaders in Delhi have called the odd-even rule as a promotional scheme of ruling AAP government and not concerned with reducing pollution. Some of the leaders even called that if Delhi government is seriously concerned about the pollution, it should come with different idea as implementing odd-even rule for merely 15 days in 3 months period will not help in reducing pollution.
Amidst the growing discussions over Odd-Even rule, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) proposed a unique idea to the Delhi government which may be taken up after holding discussions with the experts. The proposal with a preliminary analysis was submitted by CII to Delhi Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Transport Minister and Chief Secretary. CII has proposed that the government should do away with odd-even and implement ‘last-digit automobile rationing scheme’ as it will be thrice as successful as the current odd-even plan in reducing pollution and also congestion in the roads.
The last-digit automobile rationing scheme implies that the vehicles having registration number end with 1 should not be allowed on roads on 1, 11, 21 and 31 (dates) of a month. The process will go in a similar manner for rest of the vehicles having registration number ending from 0 to 9. CII has also proposed that no vehicle other than commercial vehicles including buses and taxis, police vehicles, ambulances and fire brigades should be exempted.
The analysis done by CII has stated that if the proposed plan is implemented in the city throughout the year, the total pollution emitted by vehicles will be reduced to a large scale and will be much easier for the commuters as it will not add much pressure on public transport system as the odd-even rule has done. The report assumed that if all registered vehicles of Delhi run for 10 km throughout the year, the total CO2 emission will be 1.28 million tonnes, thus will achieve 0.82 percent (10,549 tonnes) reduction in CO2 emission. While calculating the same data for odd-even rule, it said, “if the odd-even scheme is implemented for 15 days every quarter of the year, which means four times a year for 60 days, the total reduction in CO2 emission would be to the tune of 4,823 tonnes in a year, which is 0.37 per cent of the total emission in the year.”
CII also added that if the proposed scheme is applied for two digits, the total reduction in CO2 emission will be 21,099 tonnes, total 1.6 percent reduction.
CII further said that since the Odd-even rule is applicable only for private cars, that too with certain exemptions, it is not effective, but the ‘last digit automobile rationing scheme’ will apply for almost all vehicles and will be more effective in the cause. CII said, “We suggest that the last-digit rationing should be done for every digit from 0 to 9 covering all automobiles — passenger cars, two-wheeler, taxis that include large numbers, diesel SUVs, commercial vehicles without giving exemption to any category other than vehicles with CNG, buses, ambulances, fire brigades and police vehicles.”
The final call is with the Delhi government, upon what to choose?