People wait for free bus ride in New Delhi. (Photos:Zou Song/People's Daily)
New Delhi (People's Daily) - The Aam Aadmi Party-led state government in Delhi, which is at loggerheads with the Hindutva right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party-led federal government, has come up with an innovative idea to beat the national capital's alarming pollution levels and toxic haze.
On November 10, the Delhi government announced free rides at all Delhi Transport Corporation, or DTC, and Cluster buses for all commuters from November 13 to 17, the proposed dates of odd-even vehicle-rationing scheme.
The free rides are expected to cause a loss of around $1.45 millions to the cash-strapped public transporter DTC.
According to the latest available data, the DTC has a fleet of about 4,000 buses, carrying about 2.8 million commuters daily and earning around $290,000 per day.
The Delhi government decided to roll out the third edition of odd-even traffic restrictions for five days next week, starting from November 13, after the national capital’s air quality worsened and the megapolis recorded its third straight day of 'severe' category pollution on November 2.
But on November 10, the National Green Tribunal -- an apex green bench -- questioned the roll-out of the odd-even scheme from November 13, when the pollution levels are likely to lessen considerably.
The level had fallen from 603.5 at 1am on November 9 to 389 at 8pm on November 10, when 60 is considered as the safe limit.
The tribunal sought a preliminary undertaking from the Delhi government not to implement the odd-even scheme if the level of the particulate matter PM2.5 fell below 300 micrograms per cubic meter.
The Delhi government's decision of free bus rides is contingent upon the green tribunal's decision on the odd-even scheme.