The Supreme Court termed the Delhi government’s Odd-Even scheme to tackle air pollution “mere optics” on Tuesday. Following the statement, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said the government will make a detailed plan related to the Odd-Even scheme after studying the Supreme Court’s order.

Rai’s statement came days after he announced that the “Odd-Even vehicle system will be applicable for one week from 13th to 20th November”. Without giving details of the scheme, he had said, “We have taken a key decision to reintroduce the odd-even scheme from November 13. It will remain in effect for seven days…A decision to extend the scheme will be made after November 20.”

The overall air quality in Delhi was in the ‘very poor’ category around 3:30 pm on Tuesday, as per the data by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). The Air Quality Index (AQI) was at 356 after crossing 400 (severe category) for the past few days.

SC says Odd-Even type scheme ‘mere optics’

Meanwhile, during a hearing on Tuesday, the Supreme Court said the odd-even scheme devised by Delhi government to tackle air pollution is “mere optics” without any substantial result. “Have you evaluated how it worked in previous years? Such schemes are only optics,” the court was quoted by Bar and Bench as saying.

The Supreme Court said this while hearing an application regarding air pollution in the national capital.

It also stated that the practice of stubble burning by farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh should be stopped since it contributes significantly to air pollution in the northern region of the country including Delhi.

“We want it (stubble burning) stopped. We don’t know how you do it, it’s your job. But it must be stopped. Something has to be done immediately,” the Supreme Court said.

What is Odd-Even scheme

The odd-even vehicle rationing system was first implemented in Delhi in 2016. Under the odd-even system, vehicles with plate numbers ending in an even digit (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) are allowed to operate on even dates, while those ending in odd digits (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) can ply on odd dates.

When the odd-even was implemented in the past, emergency and police vehicles, two-wheelers, cars driven by women and vehicles ferrying school children and VIPs were exempted.

According to a 2018 study conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute, vehicular emissions contribute to roughly 40 per cent of the PM 2.5 pollution in the capital.

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Updated: 07 Nov 2023, 07:01 PM IST