NEW DELHI: Amid widespread apprehension over the odd and even number scheme for private vehicles, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today struck a conciliatory note and said it will be tried out for limited period of time and it will be stopped if there are problems galore.
With experts and Opposition parties questioning the practicability of the scheme, Kejriwal said many things were yet to be thrashed out including exemptions for certain private vehicles and it was a decision taken in principle which will be "thought through".
"In principle, a decision has been taken. Many things are yet to be thrashed out... We will experiment with it for some time. May be for 15 days. If there are too many problems, it will be stopped," he said at the HT Leadership Summit here.
Kejriwal said his government had planned to introduce the scheme at a later stage after strengthening the public transport system but was forced to take the drastic step following "panic" in the wake of Delhi High Court's observation that the city has become a "gas chamber".
"A sort of panic was created that the pollution has increased so much that something drastic has to be done," he said.
In a radical step to curb air pollution, the city government yesterday announced that private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers will be allowed to ply only on alternate days starting January 1.
Seeking to assuage concerns, Kejriwal said his government would not allow the people to be inconvenienced.
He said he had thought of introducing such a measure only after taking a number of steps, including redesigning the roads, augmenting public transport by bringing at least 10,000 buses and constructing dedicated elevated roads for buses.
Talking about initiatives taken by his government yesterday to tackle pollution, Kejriwal said vacuum cleaning on all PWD roads will begin from April 1 and grass will be planted on side kerbs and central verges of all the arterial roads to remove dust.
He said tenders will be floated very soon to procure vacuum cleaners from abroad as such machines are not available here. The Chief Minister said Euro 6 emission norms will be implemented in Delhi from 2017 as against Centre's plan to make it mandatory from 2019.
Listing initiatives to curb air pollution, Kejriwal said his government has decided to shut Rajghat and Badarpur thermal power plants and all trucks entering Delhi will be checked at various entry points.
"Erring vehicles will be penalised heavily."
The chief minister said no truck will be allowed to enter Delhi before 11 in the night against existing 9 PM.
"We ensure stricter enforcement in ensuring issuance of pollution under control certificates at petrol pumps through use of computerised system," he said.
Kejriwal said people burning garbage will be fined as part of measures to control pollution, noting that dust blown by winds was a major problem the city faces.
On his relationship with the Centre, Kejriwal talked about "constant interference" by the central government and said some problems are political while some are constitutional.
"You need your space to be able to govern. Some problems are political and some problems are constitutional," he said.
Asked about his experience in government, Kejriwal said "Governance is not rocket science. But day-to-day interference completely saps you.
"All I want is freedom to take my decisions. I don't even want credit for it. PM Modi can take all the credit."
On bureaucracy, he said they used to face lot of difficulties earlier but are happy now.
"People in bureaucracy are good. They are happy with our government. They're happy now that their is no interference," Kejriwal said.