Just this morning, when our colleague from Delhi bombed our inboxes with pictures from a car launch, every single picture looked like the camera’s lens suffered fogging issues. Even pictures of the car’s insides looked misty. Schools have been shut, construction has stopped and people have been advised to stay indoors as Delhi’s air quality has deteriorated to the worst in recent years. As a result, the State’s Transport Minister has announced that the odd-even traffic rule will be enforced in India’s biggest Gas chamber, starting Monday, November 13th.
The odd-even rule will be enforced for a period of five days and the Transport Minister has requested the people of Delhi and all agencies to cooperate with the government as it struggles to tackle the situation. He has also assured that there will be no surge pricing by cab hailing companies such as Ola and Uber during the five days and ministers will have to abide by the scheme too. Particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels in Delhi’s air have risen to 420 while the acceptable level is 60. On the other hand, PM 10 levels have shot up to 986, where the acceptable level is 100.
The Transport Minister did not disclose if there will be an exemption list this time. During the previous two instances when the odd-even rule was enforced, CNG vehicles, two-wheeler riders, cars driven by women, hybrid cars and electric cars were exempted from this scheme. Delhi has seen two phases of the scheme being implemented. The first phase lasted a fortnight starting January 1, 2016, and the second time was four months later from April 15 to 30. During both times, restrictions were in place from 8am to 8pm. We expect more details and clarifications to follow, closer to the date of implementation. The weather department predicts that there won’t be much improvement in the next 48 hours either. However, the current weather system will begin to dissipate by this weekend.