Regulations

India to ban cars on alternate days to reduce pollution

The Indian government has announced plans to restrict the number of cars on the road starting Jan. 1, 2016.
India to ban cars on alternate days to reduce pollution. Photo by NOMAD [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0">CC BY 2.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATrafficjamdelhi.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>

The Indian government has announced plans to restrict the number of cars on the road starting Jan. 1, 2016, by implementing an “odd-even” scheme. Cars with odd and even registration numbers will be allowed to ply on Indian roads only on alternate days. The announcement was made a day after the Delhi High Court compared being in the Indian capital to “living in a gas chamber,” ordering remedial action.

Other cities have adopted similar schemes, including Lagos, Nigeria, Athens, Greece, Manila, Philippines, and Beijing, China. The “odd-number” system, however, has backfired to a certain degree. Those who can afford, buy a second car to use during the days that their cars are banned.

Former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh described the move by the government as a “good step.” Ramesh said vehicles of state and central government ministers should also be part of the ban and no exemption should be allowed.

He said that if implemented seriously, the decision will have a “constructive impact” on India’s pollution problem. “Taking into account the present situation of pollution in Delhi, the Delhi government’s decision is absolutely correct. But at the same time, we cannot run away from the fact that we have to strengthen our public transport. But in the last five years the way metro has increased and is being used, if this new policy is seriously implemented, it will have a constructive impact,” Ramesh said.

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