Two days after the Supreme Court termed the odd-even scheme to curb vehicular emissions in the Capital as “optics”, the Delhi government has defended the scheme, submitting that “the policy works as an effective emergency measure”, citing some independent studies.
On Tuesday, a Supreme Court bench led by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had questioned the efficacy and success of the odd-even scheme in the past.
While the court fixed the next hearing on Friday, its poser prompted Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai to make a statement that they will wait for the court’s orders, based on which a decision on the implementation of the scheme will be taken.
In an affidavit filed on Thursday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government conceded that it did not carry out any scientific evaluation of the odd-even system, but shared two independent impact evaluations conducted during the first two implementations of the scheme — during January 1-15, 2016, and April 15-30, 2016.
The government further relied on a traffic impact study carried out by M/s Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) for the scheme in November 2019 to maintain that the policy has had positive impact in reduction of vehicular pollution, and brings down congestion on Delhi roads.
The first study, it said, was conducted by researchers Michael Greenstone, Anant Sudarshan (both from Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago), Santosh Harish (Centre for Policy Research), and Rohini Pande (Harvard Kennedy School), which found that PM2.5 levels on average dropped by 13% between 8am and 8pm during the odd-even scheme in January 2016. No impact was detected when the programme was repeated in April, most likely because the warmer month of April is marked by greater dispersion of particulates, stated the affidavit.