Haryana is all set to impose the odd-even rule for vehicles in Gurugram, sources said, though the plan is yet to be announced officially. After an emergency meeting to help check the toxic smog that is choking Delhi and its neighbouring areas, officials of the Gurgaon administration said they are ready to implement the odd-even rule from next week.
In 2016, the Delhi government led by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party had introduced the “odd-even” scheme, which involved road rationing for non-transport four-wheeled vehicles. Under the system, private vehicles can be driven only on alternating days, depending on the last digit of their number plate — odd numbers on odd dates and even numbers on even dates.
Terming the situation “very serious” Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said, “We will consider implementing odd-even rule. We have formed a committee that will look into the problem of air pollution”.
Yash Garg, the Deputy Commissioner, Gurugram said, “AQI (Air Quality Index) has been getting worse over past few days, so it was a thought that vehicular pollution is a major component to air pollution. That is why odd-even is being considered”.
Air quality in the Millennium City has remained between “very poor” and “severe” categories since Diwali. But while stubble burning reduces, air pollution will persist because of open toxic waste burning.
Besides the odd-even rule to curb vehicular pollution, Haryana’s plan includes extending Work From Home for government offices till November 22 and deploying water sprinklers, anti-smog gun machines. Industries using coal and other similar fuel have been advised to halt work. Heavy vehicles carrying uncovered construction material will be fined, officials said.
Delhi will also consider restricting private vehicles to driving on alternate days from next week if the pollution continues, news agency Reuters has reported.
“If air pollution levels stay high, we will look at new measures like the odd-even (vehicle) system,” Delhi’s Environment minister Gopal Rai was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The Delhi government has extended school closures and shut five power stations to contain the crisis. Half the government employees are working from home.
The Supreme Court – which is looking into the pollution issue — has been irked about Delhi’s neighbours not being covered by the work-from-home directive and the focus only being on a temporary ban on trucks.