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Implementation of Odd-Even Rule in New Delhi

With mounting pollution levels in the capital, the Delhi government has reintroduced the odd-even scheme to combat hazardous levels of smog. While the pollution levels of several cities rise post Diwali celebrations, Delhi has reported some of the worst Air Quality Index ratings in the last few years. With Air Quality sensors maxing out at 999 in most areas of the city post-Diwali and pollution from the stubble being burned in neighboring states, the Delhi government hopes that the implementation of the Odd-Even rule will help curb the pollution level.

What is the Odd-Even Rule?

The Odd-Even rule was rolled out in Delhi on November 4 and will continue till November 15. The scheme was re-introduced in a bid to reduce the pollution in the capital city after it saw a major bump in PM10 and PM2.5 levels post Diwali. The Odd-Even rule is a space rationing scheme that determines which vehicles will ply on the roads on specific days.

According to the scheme, odd-numbered and even-numbered vehicles will ply on the roads on alternate days. Vehicles with registration numbers ending in odd numbers will be allowed on the roads on odd days and even-numbered vehicles will be allowed on the roads on even days. For example, vehicle registration numbers ending with 0,2,4,6 or 8 are allowed on days such as the 14th, 16th or 18th of a month. Similarly, vehicles with registration numbers ending in 1,3,5,9 can ply on the roads on days such as 13th, 15th or 17th of a month.

The need for Odd-Even Rule

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) released some data on October 29, which raised alarm about the deteriorating air quality in the city. According to the CPCB, the daily average of critical pollutants in the air crossed 300 micrograms per cubic metre. These mostly include pollutants that are PM2.5 or in other words, small enough to enter our lungs and bloodstream. The report came on the heels of Diwali celebrations in Delhi.

As per the Graded Response Action Plan, measures pertaining to ‘severe’ Air Quality Level were adapted. One of these is the Odd-Even rule which aims to significantly reduce the number of vehicles on the roads. The Odd Even rule applies to private vehicle owners but has certain exceptions.

The exceptions come in the form of electric cars and two wheelers. Whether you own a petrol, diesel or CNG car, you must adhere to the rule. Some other exemptions include cars with only female occupants, women with children who are less than 12 years old and people with physical disabilities. The rule also does not apply to senior citizens, head of the states, Prime Ministers and President of the country.

If you fail to follow the rule and are caught doing the same, the fine just became a bit dearer. The earlier fine for violating the rule stood at INR 2,000. The amount has been hiked to INR 4,000 for the current scheme of things.

Safety

While the Odd-Even scheme is a step in the right direction it is imperative to take other safety measures to protect your health. Wear N99 or N95 masks to ease your breathing and avoid venturing outside. If do have to drive somewhere, it is advisable to be even more alert as the pollution has also caused visibility to drop and can lead to road accidents. Thus, it is essential that you update your motor insurance policy.

Exemptions under Odd-Even Rule:

Following categories are exempted from Odd-Even Rule

  • Two Wheelers

  • Women drivers driving alone or with child less than 12 years of age

  • Private vehicles who are transporting school children during school time

  • Vehicle of people with disabilities.

  • Vehicle of President, Vice-President and other important dignitaries of government, judges

  • Emergency Enforcement vehicles, defense, paramilitary forces.

Conclusion

The Odd-Even rule is predicted to aid in 12-15% reduction of pollutants during the implementation phase.Till then it is important to take ample measures to safeguard your health and adhere to these regulations.


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