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Private cars banned in Delhi to battle air pollution

1 January 2016 12:50



More than a million private cars have been banned from roads in New Delhi in an attempt to improve air quality in the Indian capital.

Indian authorities on Friday banned the use of private cars in New Delhi on alternate days according to their registration plates.

The scheme will run on a trial basis for a fortnight, from January 1 to 15, as part of a wider drive aimed at reducing pollution levels.

Traffic police sources say one of the first violators of the new rule at a busy stretch in the city was fined 2,000 rupees (USD 30), a hefty fine for average Delhi dwellers.

However, Ankit Kumar, a senior traffic policeman, told the AFP news agency that most of the residents were abiding by the new measure.

“I would have expected to catch at least dozens in the first half an hour but surprisingly most people are obeying,” said Kumar.

“At least over here, which is usually a pretty hectic intersection. This is a good sign. But let’s see what happens on Monday (when more commuters hit the roads).”

Critics, including some senior Indian government officials, had earlier warned that the plan could fail in a city where traffic rules are already routinely flouted.

The severe traffic restrictions have been imposed in an effort to reduce the toxic air pollution in the world’s most polluted capital.

The drastic measures also include shutting some coal-fired power plants and vacuuming roads to reduce dust across the city.

The measures follow a court order asking authorities to find a solution to hazardous air pollution.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 13 Indian cities are among the top 20 most polluted cities in the world.

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