After over a week of the implementation of the odd-even formula in Delhi, vehicular traffic on the roads has somewhat reduced, but the city’s air quality hasn’t shown much of a difference.
Earlier in the week, the Delhi High Court had asked the Kejriwal government to explain whether there exists any “reasonable conclusion to the contribution of the odd-even formula in reducing pollution”. On Friday, the Delhi government replied to the court, explaining the need for the experiment to be extended beyond the earlier scheduled 15 days. However, on Saturday, the Delhi government said that the first phase will end on 15 January, and an announcment about the next phase will be made after a detailed analysis. Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai confirmed in a tweet on Saturday that the odd-even scheme will continue only till 15 January, and a further decision will be taken later.
Harish Salve, the counsel representing the Delhi government, has submitted data on the past one week’s pollution level to the court, which showed a decline in the particulate matter during the peak hours. The data provided to the court is in comparison to the pollution levels during December last year. The petitioners have, however, challenged the validity of the data produced to the court.
Manoj Kumar, managing partner of Hammurabi and Solomon and one of the petitioners to the case, said: “An unsigned and unverified report has been filed before the court. They have given incorrect data procured from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), which attempts at misleading the Bench. We have challenged the veracity of the data and contents of the report which, to the knowledge of the government of the national capital territory, was false. The matter has now been posted for hearing on 11 January.”
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, CSE, contested arguments that pollution levels have not changed. “Early signs do show dip in pollution levels. Weather conditions have not helped in drastic fall in pollution levels. Peak hour pollution has fallen, but still lies within hazardous levels,” she said.