New Delhi: The road-rationing programme of the Delhi government in set to make a comeback later this year, sources in the Delhi government have said.
Two concerns are said to be worrying the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi over the second round of implementation of the odd-even scheme. The first relates to commuting by school children and the second, over the possibility of people opting to buy another car to circumvent the restrictions.
Chief Minister Kejriwal, who on Monday chaired a review meeting on the next phase of odd-even, has asked all departments to look into these two major issues and submit their report in this regard at the earliest.
In view of these concerns, the Delhi government is likely to roll out the second phase of the programme somewhere around the March-April period once the CBSE Board exams of schools are over.
Elaborating on the 15-day trial phase, Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that during the implementation of the car-rationing scheme, the average pollution level had come down significantly. This, he claimed, had also been observed by CSE, EPCA and TERI.
"In today's review meeting, all the departments including PWD, transport, environment as well as independent experts have expressed their views that the scheme should continue further to bring down pollution level and de-congest the capital's roads,” he said.
Two-wheelers, however, are likely to stay out of the ambit of the plan which will largely be a car-rationing, not a road-rationing programme. When asked about inclusion of bikes and scooters under the next phase of scheme, Rai said that no decision has been taken in this regard and it will be only possible when the city government strengthens the public transport system including increasing of fleet of DTC and cluster buses.
On the role of public transport, the minister also said that the frequency of DTC and cluster buses has increased significantly due to this scheme as there was no much traffic-congestion on the roads during the last 15 days. "64 lakh people used to travel in DTC and cluster buses every day during this scheme. Government is moving towards augmenting public transport by introducing new buses," he said
"1,000 buses will start coming on roads from April-June this year and one thousand AC buses will come from July-August.
"Besides, we have also decided to introduce 'Premium Bus Service' for elite class with higher fares which is aimed at encouraging them to use public transport," he said.
Rai added that during the odd-even scheme, the sale of petrol and diesel came down by 25-30 per cent in the national capital implying that the pollution level had reduced during the period.
"In bordering areas, PM 2.5 levels were recorded more than 400 (ug/m3) while in inner areas in Delhi, they were recorded between 150 and 210 on an average," he added.
Yesterday, Delhi government had organised a 'thanksgiving' event at Chattarsal Stadium for making the car-rationing scheme a 'success'. Addressing a rally on the "grand success" of the pilot road-rationing scheme, Kejriwal had said the experiment saw nearly "100 per cent" participation by Delhiites.
He further said that the scheme could only be successfully as the government engaged the public in a "dialogue" instead of resorting to threats of penalty, which "would not have worked".