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Environmentalists unhappy as Kejriwal unveils odd-even plan

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New Delhi: The Delhi government on Thursday unveiled its ambitious odd-even traffic rationing plan to combat rising pollution, but greens were unhappy over the exemption given to 25 categories of motorists including women drivers, bikers, emergency vehicles and a host of VIPs.

The odd-even formula will be tried out for 15 days from January 1 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. except on Sundays, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. It will also apply to vehicles entering Delhi from other states.

Environmentalists expressed dismay over the large number of exemptions, saying this will derail the scheme. But others lauded the initiative while admitting it will cause inconvenience to motorists.

Officials said the scheme will be applicable only to cars, which form almost a third of the capital’s nearly nine million vehicles — a situation that has taken Delhi’s air pollution to alarming levels.

Cars with odd registration numbers will be allowed to ply only on odd dates (January 1, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15) and those with even registration numbers on even dates (January 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 14). Sundays (January 3 and 10) will be restriction free.

Kejriwal said the policy incorporated suggestions from the judiciary and the union home ministry as well as experts.

“We appeal to residents of Delhi to make this odd-even plan a success so as to reduce air pollution which has assumed alarming proportions,” he said.

“Without people’s support, this will not be successful,” he added. “We are doing this for our children, for our future, for our environment.”

“Women drivers or women with children below 12 years will be exempted from the odd-even formula,” he said. Those going to hospitals for medical emergency too will be exempted — if they show proof.

Greens were particularly unhappy over the blanket exemption given to the some 50 lakh two-wheelers.

Vikrant Tongad, with the Delhi-based Social Action for Forest and Environment, said:

“This is a good initiative, but it won’t suffice. It will be of very less benefit as many vehicles are being exempted. The restrictions are not enough as trucks and bikes are major sources of pollution.”

Priyansh Joshi, who lives in south Delhi, said he will quickly get his bike repaired. “Why not do it for the environment?”

But Ajay Gautam, a resident of Mayur Vihar in east Delhi, had another worry. “Because of this, there will be more crowds in Delhi Metro and pickpocketing will go up.”

The Delhi government decided to radically cut the number of cars on the roads after repeated warnings from the judiciary on soaring pollution. The Delhi High Court said the city had become akin to a “gas chamber”.

Kejriwal said he and his ministers will abide by the restrictions, but these won’t apply to the president, vice president, prime minister, governors, Supreme Court judges, central ministers, chief ministers of states other than Delhi, diplomats as well as ambulances and police and fire service vehicles.

Cars and other vehicles propelled by compressed natural gas (CNG) too will be exempted and those ferrying physically-challenged people.

Kejriwal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to appeal to his ministers to support the plan. He sought help from Delhi Police to make the scheme a success.

The chief minister admitted that the public transport was not adequate to cope with the numbers who would have to leave their cars behind and urged motorists to go for car pooling.

About 4,000-5,000 additional buses and 10,000 new auto-rickshaws will be added to the public transport, he said. Delhi Metro train frequency will be raised.

Violators would be fined Rs.2,000, Kejriwal said. (IANS)

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  • Rakesh Manchanda

    Kudos..good coverage of this essential 15 day experiment.

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President Kovind approves recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs

In a quick follow to EC's recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs, President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the disqualification

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20 AAP MLAs stand disqualified after President Ram Nath Kovind approved EC's recommendation. Wikimedia Commons
20 AAP MLAs stand disqualified after President Ram Nath Kovind approved EC's recommendation. Wikimedia Commons
  • President Kovind approved the EC’s recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs
  • EC had recommended the disqualification on the charges of holding ‘Office of Profit’
  • Union Law and Justice Ministry has issued a notification regarding the disqualification

President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs in Delhi on charges of holding Office of Profit, an official spokesman of the Rashtrapathi Bhavan said on Sunday.

Following the approval, the Union Law and Justice Ministry issued a notification saying that the President has held that the 20 members of Delhi Legislative Assembly stand disqualified under 15 (1) (a) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) act.

ALSO READ: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

These 20 MLAs are Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gehlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal Khufiya, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh.

Disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs comes as a big blow for Arvind Kejriwal. Wikimedia commons
Disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs comes as a big blow for Arvind Kejriwal. Wikimedia commons

The Election Commission on Friday recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries.

It gave its opinion to the President on a complaint by advocate Prashant Patel, a member of the Hindu Legal Cell, in June 2015, who petitioned then President Pranab Mukherjee alleging illegality in the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries.

ALSO READ: Can India achieve good governance without intra-party democracy?

The application by Patel said 21 AAP MLAs, including Jarnail Singh (Rajouri Garden) who resigned to contest the Punjab Assembly polls last year, were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries to Ministers in the Delhi government in violation of the Constitution. (IANS)