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Business News/ Opinion / Quick Edit/  AQI woes: Delhi dusts off its old odd-even policy
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AQI woes: Delhi dusts off its old odd-even policy

Multiple factors that contribute to low air quality must be tackled in concert to make a difference. Politics has a role too.

Delhi has tried the odd-even vehicle scheme before, but its efficacy as a pollution clamp was outweighed by its overall public inconvenience. (HT_PRINT)Premium
Delhi has tried the odd-even vehicle scheme before, but its efficacy as a pollution clamp was outweighed by its overall public inconvenience. (HT_PRINT)

With Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) in the “severe" zone of danger in many localities, its Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has dusted off its odd-even vehicle scheme for the week starting 13 November. On odd calendar dates, the city’s roads will allow only vehicles with odd-number licence plates (and likewise for even). 

Delhi has tried this before, but its efficacy as a pollution clamp was outweighed by its overall public inconvenience. That it’s back suggests either a scarcity of ideas or AAP’s political need to be seen as taking action. The causes of toxic air remain mostly the same, with farm fires a huge contributor in need of solution-oriented politics to help quell. Without an all-cause squeeze, the odds are slim of halved traffic making it easier for people to breathe safely. 

Not that road rationing in itself lacks merit. Traffic congestion, for example, could be eased via tech-enabled tolls charged on the basis of a dynamic interplay of road demand and supply, with these charges levied like a progressive tax. Fancy cars should pay much more than humble carriers. As for cutting vehicular exhaust, AQI-linked “surge" pricing of Delhi’s streets would do a better job. 

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Published: 07 Nov 2023, 08:00 AM IST
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