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"What Will Odd-Even Achieve?" Supreme Court Grills Delhi Over Pollution

The odd-even road rationing scheme, which started today as part of the pollution control measures of the Delhi government, faced scrutiny of the Supreme Court today as the judges looked for a long-term plan to ensure clean air at the national capital. The court pulled up the Delhi government, questioning what has been achieved by the odd-even scheme and asked that government supply figures regarding the impact of the road rationing.

"What are you achieving by odd and even? Are you preventing running of taxis? Have you any figure on impact of odd and even?" the court asked. "People have to travel. You are not stopping travel. What do you achieve by stopping cars?" said Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta, who are hearing a plea by the pollution control body Environment Pollution Control Authority or EPCA on stubble burning in neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana.

Critics of the scheme have pointed out that with two wheelers and diesel-spewing commercial vehicles not being under the odd-even plan, its impact is negligible.  

"It has been argued that more use of two and three wheelers is causing more harm and no there's use in implementing odd-even," the court said.

When the government suggested that fewer cars would mean less pollution, the court retorted, "More autos are plying, that's more pollution".

The judges ordered the Delhi government to respond on stopping diesel vehicles and submit data on the difference between stopping four wheelers and using only two and three wheelers.

The court also stopped construction and demolition work across Delhi and tasked municipal authorities with ensuring that there is no violation. The entry of diesel vehicles and garbage burning was also banned in the national capital.

Do you think Delhi's Odd-Even plan will be successful?

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1 Dead, 15 Injured In Grenade Attack In Srinagar, Third In J&K In 2 Weeks

One person was killed and 15 others were injured in a grenade attack at a vegetable market in Srinagar this afternoon, police said. This is the third grenade attack in Jammu and Kashmir in the last two weeks.

All those who were injured in today's blast at a vegetable market in Hari Singh High Street in the centre of the city have been admitted to hospital and two of them are said to be critical. The attack took place at 1:20 pm.

Terrorists targeted roadside vendors as markets remains shut in the city amid restrictions. The market area has now been cordoned off.

Today's blast comes a week after 15 civilians were injured in a similar attack in Sopore town of north Kashmir. Several civilians were targeted when they were waiting at a bus stand.

In another terror attack on October 26, six security personnel were injured when a CRPF team was inspecting vehicles at a checkpost and terrorists threw a grenade.

Security personnel have been on high alert in Jammu and Kashmir ever since its special status under Article 370 was scrapped through a presidential order on August 5.

Terrorists have been targeting truck drivers and labourers belonging to other states after the centre stripped J&K of its special status. Eleven non-locals were killed in October in separate terror attacks. Last week, five labourers from Bengal were shot dead in Kulgam district.

Do you think India should respond to the recent attacks?

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Odd-even scheme in Delhi: Check dates, fines, timings, rules, exemptions

After almost three years of gap, the Odd-even scheme will be back in Delhi from November 4 (Monday) to November 14 (Thursday). Under the 'odd-even scheme', vehicles with odd registration number (ending with 6781, 7863 etc) will be allowed on odd days. And on even days, only vehicles with even number (eg 2238, 7400 etc) would be allowed. It will be the third time that the odd-even scheme will come into force in Delhi. Odd-even was first implemented for 15 days from January 1-15 and then from April 15-30 in 2016.

Here are top-10 important rules, exemptions, timings to keep in mind to avoid penalties:

1. Since the odd-even scheme is starting from November 4, therefore, cars with even numbers will be allowed on the road on this day. Next day, on November 5, cars with odd-numbers would be allowed on Delhi road. This will go till November 14.

2. Cars with even number would be allowed to drive on the roads of Delhi in the following dates ---Nov4 (Monday), Nov 6 (Wednesday), Nov 8 (Friday), Nov 12 (Tuesday) and Nov 14 (Thursday). Whereas, the odd-number cars could drive in these dates--Nov 5 (Tuesday), Nov 7 (Thursday), Nov 9 (Saturday), Nov 11 (Monday) and Nov 13 (Wednesday).

3. If anyone violates odd-even rule then a fine of Rs 4,000  would be charged. Earlier, the penalty was Rs 2,000 for the violation. The hike in penalty has been suggested by the Transport department as per the amended Motor Vehicle Act.

4. The odd-even scheme will be applicable in Delhi from 8 am to 8 pm, except on Sundays.

5. Exempted vehicles during odd-even scheme:  Two Wheelers, Women drivers alone or with child up to 12 years of age, Private vehicles with school children in uniform (only during school timings), Vehicles with person/s with physical disabilities.

Vehicles of VVIPs/VIPs (Prime Minister, President, Vice President, Governors, Chief Justice Of India, Lok Sabha speaker, Union Ministers, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha Leaders of Opposition, vehicles of chief ministers of states and union territories, vehicles of Supreme Court Judges, UPSC Chairperson, Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commissioners, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha, Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha,Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Judges of Delhi High Court, Lokayukta) Emergency enforcement, defence, paramilitary and embassy vehicles

6.  Four-wheeled vehicles driven by men, private CNG vehicles, AND  Non-Goods vehicles from other states, MLAs of other states will not be exempted from the odd-even scheme in Delhi.

7. Cab aggregators Ola and Uber have said that they will deactivate surge pricing during the 12-day odd-even road rationing scheme.

8. The Delhi government has said that it is going to hire 2,000 private buses to boost public transport system during the odd-even scheme. Currently, around 5,600 buses are run by DTC and DIMTS under Cluster scheme.

9. During odd-even rule in Delhi, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation  (DMRC) will conduct 61 additional trips and a total of 5,100 trips through 294 trains.

10. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has ordered staggered office timings at all Delhi government offices. The offices of various departments of the Delhi government will open at 9.30 AM and 10.30 AM, he said.

Is the Delhi odd-even scheme a workable solution in 2019?

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P Chidambaram Back In Tihar Jail After Court Rejects Probe Agency's Request

P Chidambaram will go back to Delhi's Tihar Jail till November 13, a Delhi court ordered today, moving him to judicial custody in the INX Media case. The former Finance Minister had been shifted out of the jail when he was moved to the Enforcement Directorate's custody earlier this month.

In Tihar Jail, the senior Congress leader will have a separate cell, a western toilet, home-cooked food and medicines, the judge said.

Mr Chidamabaram's Enforcement Directorate custody ended today. His request for bail will be taken up by the Delhi High Court tomorrow. The 74-year-old has asked for bail on health grounds.

Today, the court rejected the Enforcement Directorate's request for one-day custody. Mr Chidambaram's lawyer Kapil Sibal argued that the agency was not confronting any witnesses as it had always told court while seeking longer custody. "Every day it's the same story. ED kept telling court that we have to confront witnesses but not a single day was there any confrontation," said Mr Sibal, also producing a file on the former union minister's medical condition. 

Mr Chidambaram was briefly admitted to AIIMS on Monday after complaints of a stomach ailment. He has asked the court for bail to fly to Hyderabad for treatment. 

Mr Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI on August 21. He is accused of a role in irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to the INX Media group for the infusion of overseas funds amounting to Rs. 305 crore in 2007, when he was Finance Minister of the country.

On October 16, the Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating money-laundering charges in the case, arrested him from Tihar Jail.

Last week, the Supreme Court granted Mr Chidambaram bail, saying there is no possibility of the former Union Minister absconding and "no whisper" of any evidence that he tried to influence even one witness. 

The top court rejected the CBI's argument that Mr Chidambaram is a flight risk and said the CBI had not provided any evidence on how witnesses were influenced - "SMS, e-mail, letter or telephonic calls and the persons who have approached the material witnesses."

The Congress leader "can be released if he is not required in any other case", the court said, adding that he will have to give a bond of Rs. 1 lakh.

In his first stint, Mr Chidambaram spent more than a month in Tihar, Asia's largest prison facility.

Do you agree with Delhi HC decision?

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Will Bring Citizenship Law, Throw Out Infiltrators: Amit Shah In Kolkata

Union minister and BJP chief Amit Shah today declared in Kolkata that the Centre will take the National Citizenship Registry across the country and "no matter how much the Trinamool Congress opposes it, the BJP will get it done". In the city to open pandals for Durga Puja, the state's biggest festival, Mr Shah launched a full-scale political attack on the ruling Trinamool Congress and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Chief Minister, he said, is keen on keeping infiltrators in the state to expand her voter base.

"Didi used to oppose these same people when they voted for Communists. Now that they are voting for her, she wants to keep them," he said. Accusing the Trinamool chief of putting her party's interest first, he said, "We cannot let national interest come ahead of any party's interest".

"Didi is saying she won't let NRC happen, I want to promise you we won't let a single infiltrator stay. Not one refugee will have to go, not one infiltrator will be able to stay, this is the BJP's promise," added the minister.

Earlier this year, the BJP rolled out the citizens' list in Assam - the implementation was hugely criticized after it was found that it left out 19 lakh people. Even a section of BJP leaders in Assam have criticised it, claiming the list left out a number of Bengali Hindus who were among the party's core voter group.

Last month, Mamata Banerjee had flagged the issue during her meeting with Mr Shah in Delhi and said the exercise was not required in Bengal. "I handed over a letter to him (Amit Shah), told him that of the 19 lakh people left out of NRC, many are Hindi speaking, Bengali speaking and local Assamese. Many genuine voters have been left out. This should be looked into," she had said.

After the rollout of the citizens' list in Assam, Mr Shah has repeatedly spoken of the government's plan to introduce National Registry of Citizens throughout the country and take action against illegal immigrants.

The people, he said, have given their approval for the nationwide-implementation of the NRC through their verdict of the 2019 elections.

Today, Mr Shah spoke of Bengal's contribution Bengal's contribution to the BJP's huge victory in the Lok Sabha elections and expressed hope of a reprise in the state elections.

"The people of Bengal have shown their desire for Parivartan by giving 18 seats to the BJP. I am sure in the next state polls, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the BJP will form the government in Bengal," he said.

Do you support Amit Shah's Decisions?

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