Odd-Even scheme is set to return to the National Capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Friday. The scheme will be implemented in Delhi from November 4 to November 15, Kejriwal said. Addressing the media in Delhi, Kejriwal said that the scheme is part of larger action plan to tackle the choking winter pollution. He also said that from next month, the AAP government will distribute masks to people of Delhi. Under the scheme, vehicles with odd and even number licence plates are allowed to ply on alternate days.
While it was initiated to battle Delhi's debilitating pollution, a recent study said that the scheme had little impact on the primary pollutants, PM 2.5 and black carbon. The odd-even scheme was implemented in Delhi for the first time in January, 2016. The scheme was aimed to reduce pollution and smog in Delhi. The scheme ended on November 11, 2017.
After the implementation of the scheme in first phase, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in a report told the National Green Tribunal had stated, "Prima facie, there is no data to suggest that odd-even scheme has any impact on decrease in vehicular pollution...the fluctuations in PM10 and PM2.5 is due to weather and change in wind patterns." Apart from the VIPs, politicians, Supreme Court judges and defence vehicles, single women drivers and women drivers with children below the age of 12 were exempted from the Delhi odd even rule.
The car-rationing scheme was enforced twice in the national capital in 2016 with the two exemptions which were struck down by the NGT. A landmark IIT-Kanpur study, which covered the period 2013-14, has said that during winters, vehicles are the second largest and the "most consistent" contributing source of pollutants PM10 and PM2.5.
However, the share of two-wheelers, three-wheelers, four-wheelers, trucks and light commercial vehicles in the total vehicular contribution shows that trucks and two- wheelers are the major polluters. According to the study, which was commissioned by the Sheila Dikshit government, the share of four-wheelers in the break-up of vehicular contribution is 10 per cent each in cases of both PM2.5 and PM10. On the other hand, the share of trucks and two-wheelers stands at around 46 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.
Delhi is reeling under the menace of air pollution for the past couple of years. The region faced a major air quality crisis last year when severe pollution level forced the shutdown of schools and colleges. In 2016, the government tried to explore the possibility of cloud seeding for artificial rain but the plan never worked out.