If November’s demonetization has somewhat taken our breaths away, the second-most breathtaking thing to have done that was last year’s Odd-Even rule of the Kejriwal government. This year too, it is all set to do the same, albeit for a different reason.
While it is debatable if it actually brought down air pollution, implemented in January last and this April, the odd-even car rationing scheme garnered not only attention, but also support. However, it is not returning this winter, as we had anticipated. The Narendra Modi government cited that it needs more time to set up a legally valid framework for it. Union Environment Minister, Anil Dave said a detailed framework for the plan, prepared and submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to the Supreme Court earlier this month, will be out in January in 2017.
But it will only be implemented next winter.
Arvind Kejriwal had earlier said that the third phase of odd-even will only be carried out after thorough preparation. Transport Minister Satyendar Jain said, “I have no objection on the next round of odd-even scheme. If Centre today says that odd-even will be implemented tomorrow, it cannot happen in one day. We need sufficient time before implementing the scheme,” Jain had said.
Meanwhile, it is being widely reported that Delhi air is at its all-time low once again, crossed the ‘severe mark’ this weekend. Winter is finally taking its quintessential form in Delhi. Despite strong wind, pollution level is high. R.K Puram continues to be Delhi’s post pollution section.
In a situation such as this, it is hard to tell whether our focus should be on policy or the state of Delhi’s air. Be that as it may, it seems as if it’s best to keep our pollution masks within reach. And if at all possible, ration our own vehicles while the government works on its precise, hopefully practical plans to improve air quality in the national capital.