Hours after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that the odd-even road rationing scheme will be implemented in the national capital from November 4 to 15, Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said it was not needed.
"Now there is no such need (odd-even scheme) because the new ring road we have built is helping reduce pollution in Delhi to a certain extent. Besides, my ministry is pursuing road works of about Rs 50,000 crore. Cleaning of Yamuna and other works to curb pollution are also underway," he said.
"I think Delhi will be pollution free in two years," the Union Minister added.
The flagship scheme of the AAP government, an effort to control the pollution levels, was introduced in Delhi in 2016. Per the odd-even scheme, vehicles having odd and even number plates were allowed to operate on alternate days as the air quality deteriorated.
In sharp contrast to Mr Gadkari's stance, Mr Kejriwal praised the centre's amended Motor Vehicles Act at a time when many states have refused to implement it. The new act enforces heavy fines on traffic violations.
"There has been an improvement in Delhi's traffic ever since the new Motor Vehicles Act has been implemented," the Delhi Chief Minister said.
The Delhi Chief Minister added that if people were facing difficulties and his government had the power to reduce the fines, he would.
The scale of the fines has made headlines since the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act came into effect in September. BJP-ruled Gujarat was the first to slash the fines. Other BJP-ruled states like Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka also declared they may do the same if the centre did not reconsider the new rules. States ruled by the opposition, like Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, have also refused to enforce steeper fines. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also rejected them, saying they are "too harsh".
(With Inputs From ANI, PTI)