Bikes image via Shutterstock
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said two-wheelers would be exempt from the odd-even formula coming into force in the capital on a trial basis from January 1. Under the formula, vehicles with odd and even numbers will be allowed to ply on Delhi roads only on alternate days. The exemption of two-wheelers is seen making the goal of reducing pollution and improving air quality difficult. According to an IIT Kanpur study, commissioned by the Delhi government, two-wheelers’ contribution to PM 10 and PM 2.5 in the city’s air is greater than that of cars.
The Indian Express, which reviewed the IIT Kanpur report, quoted it as saying: “46 per cent pollution is created by trucks in the city when it comes to both PM 10 and PM 2.5. Two-wheelers contribute to 33 per cent of the pollution, 10 per cent is contributed by four-wheelers. Buses contribute to five per cent of the pollution, whereas four per cent is done by light commercial vehicles, and the rest is the contribution of three-wheelers and other factors.” According to the Delhi government’s website, there were 2.72 million scooters, 2.86 million motorcycles and 105,114 mopeds registered in the city as on March 31, 2015.
Cheer for two-wheeler manufacturers
The exemption, however, comes as good news for some of Kejriwal’s admirers. Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj, for instance, will welcome the Delhi government’s decision to exclude two-wheelers from the odd-even formula.
Bajaj, incidentally, is known to be an admirer of Kejriwal. He had good things to say about the Delhi CM in an Economic Times interview earlier this year. “…But my admiration for him (Kejriwal) is enormous, because I have found him to be one of the most scrupulously honest, stunningly intelligent and uncommonly brave people that I have ever met,” Bajaj had said.
A Times of India article from February this year had quoted Bajaj’s statement on a TV programme to say: “If I may say so, I am a fan of Arvind Kejriwal. And I hope he would not mind my saying this that I have had the occasion to meet him more than once... I resonate very strongly with his thoughts and ideologies.” Bajaj had, however, later clarified that he was only a well-wisher of Kejriwal and had no connection with the latter’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). “I am ignorant about AAP as a political party and I am indifferent about politics. All I have said is that I like Kejriwal and I am a well-wisher,” Bajaj had said.
According to a July 2015 report, Bajaj Auto’s share of the domestic two-wheeler market came down from 23 per cent in 2007-08 to 12 per cent in 2014-15. So far as emission from two-wheelers is concerned, Rajiv Bajaj is of the view that there should be stricter norms for carmakers. In a December 21 interview with the Economic Times, Bajaj said he agreed with the Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal’s objective of expecting more from carmakers. Bajaj said emission norms in India lagged those in the developed markets by up to 10 years. He went on to say that if the Pulsar RS200 sold in India met European emission norms, there was no justification for cars not to.