NEW DELHI:The next edition of the odd-even plan in Delhi will make no exceptions even for women, the Arvind Kejriwal government has said in an anti-pollution action plan submitted to the National Green Tribunal amid a massive controversy over Lankan cricketers complaining of discomfort and wearing masks during matches in the capital.
The government had last month announced the odd-even rule of rationing cars when pollution in the capital peaked last month and thick smog wrapped the city, sparking a health emergency. But the green court objected to exemptions given during the previous two editions last year, to women, two-wheelers, vehicles carrying children in school uniforms and VVIPs.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government then cancelled the plan with a minister saying: “We cannot compromise on women’s security.”
Strongly defending exemptions to the plan that allows cars on the road every other day, the government had earlier argued that many women do not feel comfortable or safe in public transport, especially those who work at odd hours. Also, it told the court that the system is not equipped to accommodate so many two-wheeler drivers.
Today, in a 180-degree turn, the government said it would comply with the tribunal if severe pollution called for odd-even restrictions.
The government has also pledged to stop all construction if pollution levels touched the “severe” category, and ban the entry of trucks into Delhi.
But the green court had tough words for the government and noted that not a single First Information Report or FIR had been filed in connection with pollution. “The government only talks about challans (prosecution slips)… but nothing is reflected on the ground,” the tribunal admonished. “The Delhi government has not followed the promises it made.”
On Monday, the green court had lashed out at the Kejriwal government for not filing a comprehensive action plan and slammed authorities for holding the India-Sri Lanka cricket match despite poor air quality.
Yesterday, some members of the Lankan cricket team wore pollution masks at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. Play had to be stopped a few times as players complained of breathing problems on three occasions on Sunday. Suranga Lakmal vomited on the field. Yesterday, India’s Mohammad Shami also vomited on the field.