Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said there was no scientific rationale behind the Delhi government's move to reintroduce the odd-even traffic rationing scheme.
Vardhan said on one hand Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claims that the air quality has improved in the national capital, on the other hand, he is resorting to drastic measures like odd-even, which will be in effect from November 4 to 15.
"I have been the environment minister and I know what steps are to be taken according to Graded Response Action Plan," Vardhan said in response to a question at an event on Tuesday.
"Now, on one hand you (Kejriwal) are making noise that Delhi's air quality has improved and on the other hand, you are implementing the odd-even scheme.
There is neither any science behind it nor has the air quality deteriorated to the level that you implement odd-even," he added. GRAP, devised by the Central Pollution Control Board, ensures stringent actions are taken based on the air quality.
Under it, the odd-even scheme should come into effect when the pollution level at 'severe plus' category persists for 48 hours or more.
On September 13, Kejriwal had said that air pollution in Delhi had come down by 25 per cent in the last four years.
The chief minister had also announced that the odd-even scheme will return in the national capital to combat high levels of pollution in winters when crop burning takes place in neighbouring states.
Under the scheme, odd and even-numbered vehicles ply on alternate days. Vardhan said as the Union environment minister, he has conducted campaigns that spanned over 15 days. "We would deploy around 50 CPCB teams to take readings of major pollutants... would inform the Delhi government and notify them on our website," he said.
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