Thursday, January 27, 2022

Contemplating Delhi Government’s New Pollution Control Policy

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It is no new information that the Capital Region has been credited for being the most polluted one in India. The pollution level was realized to be at an all-new high when in a recent verdict, the Delhi High Court equated the environment of Delhi and the NCR to that of a gas chamber. The National Air Quality Index has constantly been showing the air quality in Delhi as being ‘very poor,’ leaving the population here and the Authorities in a scary fit.

To tackle the rising level of pollution and the thickening blanket of smog, the Delhi State government has been trying to develop various models of control. The latest one amongst these is the Road Space Rationing system, similar to those functioning in Beijing, Singapore, and Central London.

What is the latest Model?


Once implemented, tentatively from 1st January 2016, private vehicles with even and odd license plates will be allowed to run on the roads on alternative dates. Also, there are talks of shutting down the Badarpur Thermal Power Plant, curbing old vehicles, and allowing diesel trucks entry into the city only after 11 PM. The policy finds a significant supporter in BJP’s Kiran Bedi, who acknowledges the challenges that the government would have to face while implementing it.

Problems that the system is facing:

Despite being a stringent effort in curbing the life-threatening pollution levels, the system has various limitations, such as it may lead to the further overcrowding of the already stuffed public transports. It would also restrict the movement of people in emergency cases, for instance, increasing their dependence on the not-so-efficient Ambulances during severe medical emergencies or disabling women to drive to their homes in the safety of their own vehicles late at night. Moreover, keeping a close track of the license plates by the traffic Police officials would end up slowing the traffic, causing people all the more inconvenience.

In Beijing, where the model was adopted in 2008, automatic traffic surveillance was carried out, along with relaxing vehicle taxes, to compensate the people for a considerable time. No such proposal has been made by the authorities in Delhi yet.

Although a government official stated that there would be an increase in the number of public buses running on the road, it is hard to ascertain if the new numbers would make up for the restricted means of conveyance. Moreover, the government has failed to throw any light on the other above-mentioned issues that are of critical importance to the daily lives of Delhiites.

The response so far:

At the moment, this system seems to be ‘not too much fuss’ for the affluent few who own more than two private vehicles. The authorities have enough examples of things-gone-wrong due to poor planning ahead of implementation (after all, who can forget Delhi University’s FYUP fiasco!).

It is important to understand that the forthcoming imposition is a necessary step in the face of heaping amounts of pollution, an issue that concerns Delhi and the entire world. However, the policy must be implemented not in haste but after quick and thorough planning, increasing the efficiency of the concerned officials, with the capability to tackle the majority of the problems that the government can be faced with.

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