The Delhi government led by Arvind Kejriwal faced the scrutiny of the Supreme Court today as the apex court questioned the Aam Aadmi Party government on its implementation of the odd-even scheme as a measure to curb the choking air pollution in the national capital.
Reportedly, the apex court pulled up the Delhi government by questioning the achievement of Arvind Kejriwal’s ‘odd-even scheme’ and asked the government to furnish figures regarding the impact of the road rationing.
“What is the logic behind the odd-even scheme? Banning diesel vehicles we can understand, but what is the point of the odd-even scheme?” asked Justice Arun Mishra.
“People have to travel. You are not stopping travel. What do you achieve by stopping cars?” said SC bench comprising of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta, who are hearing a plea by the pollution control body Environment Pollution Control Authority on stubble burning in neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana.
Justice Mishra asked Delhi government why it has put restrictions on private cars while exempting autos and taxis. He added that these autos and taxis will ply more and pollute equally when people are not using their private vehicles.
Reprimanding the Delhi government, Justice Gupta stated that it would make sense if the government’s debate was based on cars and buses. “It would make sense of you were saying cars vs buses. The solution is single-person-use vehicles against mass-use vehicles. You have only added some 100 buses to public transport. People don’t even want to use Metros. The Metro to the Airport runs empty most of the time,” added Justice Gupta.
The Supreme Court directed the Delhi Government to produce data or records to prove that the odd-even scheme has reduced pollution in Delhi by November 8, even as autos and taxis continue to ply the roads.
Earlier, the SC had warned the Centre as well as Delhi government regarding the air pollution in the national capital and said the city is choking, but both the governments are simply passing the buck. Taking a strong note of the situation, the apex court said, “Delhi chokes every year, but we haven’t been able to do anything.”
“Every year this is happening and continues for 10-15 days. This can’t be done in civilised countries. Right to life is most important. It’s not the way we can live,” the court said while directing both the Delhi government and the centre to take the requisite steps to curb the situation.
“This is too much. There is no safe place to live in this city, even in homes are not safe. We are losing precious years of our life due to this,” the court added.