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Delhi-based advocate and social activist Gaurav Kumar Bansal has filed a plea before the National Green Tribunal challenging the AAP-led Delhi Government’s decision to roll the third phase of odd-even scheme on grounds that in 2006, this scheme did not check air pollution in the national capital.

The decision to implement odd-even policy from 4th to 15th November was announced by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal last week while announcing a seven-point ‘Parali Pradushan Action Plan’ (pollution caused by crop stubble burning).

The petition, while seeking quashing of the ‘Parali Pradushan Action Plan’, has stated the decision to re-implement road rationing scheme is based on a foreign study, thus setting a ‘wrong precedent’ for India. The petition calls such foreign-patronizing action by the government “is not only unpleasant but also downgrades the reputation of institutes such as CPCB and DPCC.”

Advocate Bansal after a discussion with senior retired scientists of CPCB said, “All of them not only criticized the willful ignorance by Delhi Govt of CPCB & DPCC Scientific Studies but also termed the same as most unfortunate and unpleasant.”

Bansal’s petition quotes an assessment report by the Central Pollution Control Board which had noted that the air quality of Delhi deteriorated during the odd-even period in 2016 and fluctuations in PM10 and PM2.5 were due to weather and change in wind patterns.

“Pollution levels were studied in three phases— seven days before the odd-even scheme was rolled out, during the fortnight in which the measure was implemented, and seven days after the odd-even scheme ended. Pollution levels had shot up during the implementation because of adverse meteorological factors,” D Saha, the-then head of the CPCB air quality laboratory, said.

The report is also corroborated by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s report submitted to NGT in a previous order where PM2.5 and PM10 were consistently higher during the odd–even phase than before. ‘The situation was not different in relation to NO2, CO, O3, SO2, C6H6, NH3.’

Thus the Tribunal in Mahendra Pandey v GNCT Delhi (2016) had noted that analysis of DPCC report “clearly shows that other pollutant contributing factors need to be paid greater attention, of course, the traffic on the roads of Delhi needs to be reduced by taking recourse to various measures that have already been directed to be taken by various authorities under the orders of the Tribunal including introduction of destination buses which could certainly help particularly the middle class and single driver from opting for destination buses rather than driving a car individually on highly congested roads of Delhi.”

The petition has sought:

(i) submission of said ‘foreign study’;

(ii) constitution of a committee of senior scientists of the Centre, the CPCB and the DPCC ‘to check the veracity of study done by foreign country’;

(iii) quash the  Parali Pradushan Action Plan which implements odd-even policy in November 2019;

(iv) submission of factual report on steps taken to control ‘air pollution menace’ by the Delhi Government;

and any further orders in this matter.

–India Legal Bureau

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