No odd-even this winter in Delhi, need time to set up framework, says Centre

The odd-even scheme under the Supreme Court-mandated ‘graded response to air pollution’ action plan will not be implemented in the national capital this winter, with the Centre stating that it will take the time to set up a legally valid framework for the same.

Union Environment Minister Anil Dave said a detailed framework for the plan, prepared and submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to the apex Court earlier this month, will be out in January 2017 and implemented next winter.

The CPCB had submitted the action plan with measures such as enforcement of the odd-even road rationing scheme, suspension of construction activities and possible shutting of schools in Delhi if pollution levels remained in the “severe” category. On December 2, the Supreme Court accepted the action plan and asked the Centre to notify it in early December. However, the Union Environment Ministry said it will be able to prepare a detailed framework only by next month.

A senior environment ministry official said, “The Supreme Court has asked us to notify it under the Environment Protection Act. There is a process involved and that has started. Even if the draft is put out, it has to be kept in public domain for at least two months.”

Bhurelal, Chairman of the Supreme Court appointed EPCA said, “We are waiting for the Centre’s notification. We will enforce to plan as soon as we get the formal notification of the framework from the Centre.”

Earlier, the Arvind Kejriwal government had made it clear that the third phase of odd-even scheme will only happen in the city with prior adequate preparations and awareness to the people. Transport Minister Satyendar Jain conveyed the message in the NCR Planning Board meeting chaired by Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu. Jain had asked the Centre to give the city administration sufficient time before asking it to implement the next round of car-rationing scheme.