Rationing Delhi’s roads may not succeed without strong public transport: Experts

New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) As the Delhi government on Friday decided to ration the capital’s road space by allowing even and odd vehicles to ply on alternate days, environmentalists expressed their doubts on the implementation of the policy with no strong public transport system.

The decision, taken at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, will not apply to CNG-driven buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws but will also cover vehicles entering Delhi from other states.

“Implementation of this policy is going to put extreme lot of pressure on both the government and the car drivers. When we do not have a strong public transport system, how can we expect everyone to adhere to this,” Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist working with Delhi-based Social Action for Forest and Environment, asked while speaking to IANS.

The city has been allowing some outdated trucks and public buses which also contribute to pollution in significant amounts and there needs to be check on all these too, before private vehicles are targeted, Tongad said.

He apprehended the the success of implementing this policy, and said if public transport was in a strong shape in the city, people be would deterred from using their personal vehicles.

This policy – like the one taken in Beijing in 2013 – will apply to a large bulk of the some 90 lakh vehicles registered in Delhi, where about 1,500 new vehicles are added every day.

Delhi’s vehicular population – which cause choking jams on all weekdays – includes some 27 lakh cars.

Echoing similar views, Sugato Sen, an automobile expert, told IANS: “There are many who can afford a second car in the city, if they need. This policy could work against what it is meant for.”

The government needs to give alternatives – like a foolproof public transport, well-knit metro routes- before making such moves, Sen said, adding replicating Beijing’s ways is not always the solution.

Beijing, though has a high vehicular population, has managed to fight its pollution with its strong public transport system, he said.

The decisions came a day after the Delhi High Court said that the national capital was like a gas chamber, and sought immediate action from the central and Delhi governments.

Delhi recently replaced Beijing’s spot of being the city with the filthiest air in the world. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality of Delhi is said to be “very poor” on any day, with an average air quality index of 331.

When air quality index ranges between 301 and 400, the air is said to cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.

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