The "odd-even" traffic rationing scheme kicked in at 8 am in Delhi today as the national capital battles apocalyptic levels of air pollution. Around 200 teams of traffic police have been deployed to ensure compliance and around 5,000 civil defence volunteers have been trained to spread awareness.
Despite emergency control measures kicking in on Friday, pollution rose to the worst levels so far this year on Sunday, prompting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to issue a fresh appeal asking residents to follow the rule.
"Namaste Delhi. Odd-even is starting today to reduce pollution. Do follow odd-even for yourself, your children's health and for the sake of your family's breath. Share cars. This will build friendship, strengthen relationships as well as save petrol and reduce pollution. Delhi will show it again," Mr Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi this morning.
The odd-even scheme is a traffic rationing measure under which private vehicles with registration numbers ending with an odd digit will be allowed on roads on odd dates and those with an even digit on even dates.
Vehicle registrations ending with odd digits like 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 will not be allowed on the roads on November 4, 6, 8, 12 and 14. Similarly, vehicles with registration numbers ending with an even digit - 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 - will not be allowed on the roads on November 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15. The scheme will end on November 15 and is likely to be extended if pollution levels continue to remain in the severe category.
The scheme will not be effective on Sunday, November 10. The restrictions will also apply to the vehicles with registration numbers of other states.
Two-wheelers and electric vehicles have been exempted from the restrictions, but not those running on Compressed Natural Gas or CNG. Vehicles being used for medical emergencies and those carrying school children in uniform will be exempted. Vehicles with VIPs, only women, children aged up to 12 years and vehicles occupied by physically-disabled persons will also be exempted.
Delhi Metro will operate 61 additional trips during the 11 days when the odd-even scheme will be in force. A major burden is also expected will be shouldered by over 5,600 Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses. Cab aggregators Ola and Uber have said they will not apply surge pricing during the odd-even scheme.
The BJP, which is in the opposition in Delhi, said it will protest the odd-even scheme. Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel said that he will ride through the streets of Delhi in his car, defying the rule.
(With inputs from PTI)