New Delhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday the decision of allowing private vehicles with even-odd registration numbers on alternate days was contingency step and would be discontinued if it inconvenienced the public.
He said before taking the drastic step the city government wanted to strengthen public transport, but had to resort to it following the panic triggered by increasing pollution in the capital.
“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,” Kejriwal said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.
“There were some recent reports which said that the pollution in Delhi had increased… This caused panic and some drastic steps needed to be taken.”
“There is a pollution emergency in Delhi. Traffic rationing decision will be tried out for a few days. Things needed to be sorted out,” he said.
The Delhi government on Friday said odd and even number vehicles will ply on alternate days in the city from January 1 – a move which drew flak far and wide. The move came after Delhi High Court said the Delhi was like a “gas chamber”.
The move had drawn flak from motorists who complained about the poor public transport in the capital. There are around 95 registered lakhs vehicles, contributing to the filthy air in the capital.
The chief minister also said that from April 2016, Delhi roads would be vaccum-cleaned. Besides, grass will be grown on the roadsides, he added.
The chief minister also spoke on various issues ranging from Delhi’s AAP government’s hostility with the Centre to his party’s preparation in the Punjab assembly polls in 2017.
He also defended the amendment bill passed by the Delhi assembly which seeks 400 percent hike in Delhi lawmakers salary.
He said he felt sapped by the day-to-day “interference” by the central government and this was the main reason why he was not holding any portfolio himself as all this had forced him to function like a “foreign relations” minister.
“The day-to-day interference has sapped us badly. It is the biggest challenge,” he said referring to the bitter feud between the Delhi and central governments.
He said the decision to propose a 400-percent salary for legislators was taken to check graft, and said even the prime minister should get a higher salary if he draws less than Rs.1 lakh per month.
“I was reading in a newspaper that now the salaries of Delhi MLAs will be more than that of the prime minister. I advocate that our prime minister’s salary should also increase if it is less than Rs.1 lakh.”
“What if the prime minister goes to meet (US President Barack) Obama and Obama asks him what his salary is. What will he say that it is even less than Rs.1 lakh. The prime minister should get respectable salary.”
On Punjab polls, the AAP chief exuded confidence in replicating Delhi success.
“First of all, I am confident that we’ll sweep Punjab elections looking the current surveys that were conducted. I won’t be surprised if the Delhi assembly results are repeated in Punjab. As far as face of the party is concerned, it will emerge at the right time,
Replying to whether his party was in touch with BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, he said: “We will welcome Navjot Singh Sidhu if he wants to join AAP.”