Ieper/Ypres – Comemmoriation of 1918 armistice

Comemmoriation of 1918 armistice
11 November 2019

The two gents in front look the part

In their rain gear, which was needed !

Singh & Singh

Young and older Sikh

Those that lay flowers are allowed
underneath the Menenpoort

Blue and yellow Sikh flags from East London

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Hindustan Times – Family of 21-yr-old Sikh woman killed in Canada’s Surrey clueless on why she was shot dead

Jatinder Mahal

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 25 November 2019. Gurdyal Singh Matharoo, the father of Prabhleen Kaur 21, from Jalandhar who was shot dead in Canada’s Surrey where she was working after studying management, is clueless on why she was targeted and is headed to see her body one last time.

“The Canadian police have refused to share anything with us over the phone and with our relatives there. They have asked me to come to get details.

I’m hopeful of getting the go-ahead from the Canadian embassy by Tuesday morning and will be taking a flight at the earliest,” said an inconsolable Matharoo, 64, of Chitti village near Lambra in Jalandhar, where he runs a photo studio.

He freelanced as a photographer for a Punjabi daily for 15 years.

Prabhleen had gone to Canada on a student visa on November 14, 2016, and studied business management from Langara College in Vancouver. She was working at a store and lived on rent with friends in Surrey. Police suspect she was shot dead on 21 November.

The family was told about the murder at 6 am on Sunday. Her father said the Canadian police said they had locked her accommodation after the crime.

Matharoo said when Prabhleen got a full-time job this year, she started sending home money to repay the loan taken for her education. “I spent Rs 35 lakh in three years, including the Rs 15 lakh needed to send her to Canada. I borrowed the money from relatives. We still we have to repay about Rs 15 lakh,” he said.

Her mother, Manjit Kaur, had visited her twice in two years and returned in August after spending three months with her.

“She was happy and excited for she was to come home in January. The last time she came visiting was in January 2017. I would never have allowed her to go had I known she would never come back,” he said.

Prabhleen has a 10-year-old brother, Prabhjeet Singh, who studies in a Jalandhar school.

Dawn – Dutch queen arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 25 November 2019. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands arrived in Pakistan on Monday for a three-day visit in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate (UNSGSA) for Inclusive Finance for Development.

The Dutch queen was received by senior officials of the foreign ministry and representatives of the Embassy of Netherlands at Nur Khan Air Base. Last week, the Foreign Office (FO) announced Queen Maxima’s visit.

In a press release, the FO said that the Dutch queen will call on President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during her visit, in addition to her engagements with stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
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Queen Maxima Zorreguieta Cerruti will also attend the launch of the ‘Micro Payment Gateway’, which the FO described as “an initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan aimed at reducing the costs of small payments and boosting digital transactions to benefit people and promote financial inclusion”.

The statement had added that inclusive finance for development is one of the “key priorities” of the government and the country has taken a number of steps in recent years to promote financial inclusion.

Queen Maxima had visited Pakistan in February 2016 as well. – DSGMC asks Imran Khan to take action against hate-monger Khadim Hussain Rizvi

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi – India, 23 November 2019. Pained over the unbearable words spoken by Pakistan’s religious leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi against Guru Nanak Sahib and Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has requested the Pakistani PM Imran Khan to take immediate action against Rizvi.

The DSGMC has said that people like Rizvi incites mob to demolish heritage sites and statues.

Interacting with media, DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa has said that Khadim Hussain Rizvi can’t be forgiven for the abusing words he spoke about Guru Nanak Sahib, Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib and Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

“We request Imran Khan to order action against Rizvi so that no one could dare in future to disrupt communal harmony and world peace,” he said.

It is noteworthy here that Khadim Hussain Rizvi has termed Guru Nanak Sahib as “Kafir” and the historic Sikh shrine Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib as “Marhi of Kafir” in a speech that has gone viral over social media. Beside it, Rizvi also abused Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh while making baseless accusations against him.

Khadim Hussain Rizvi also made a comparison between Madina and Kartarpur in a manner which is unbearable for Sikhs.

DSGMC asks Imran Khan to take action against hate-monger Khadim Hussain Rizvi

The Wire – In 10 Steps, Here’s how Modi and Shah managed the murder of democracy in Maharashtra

The two leaders knew they could not afford to let the Maharashtra government out of their hands and had prepared the ground, from day one, to ensure the BJP returned to power.

Siddharth Varadarajan

Mumbai – Maharashstra – India, 23 November 2019. In the early hours of Saturday, when the people of Maharashtra were fast asleep, the country awoke to strife and unfreedom.

News of the death of democracy, the tearing up of constitutional norms, was broken by the executioner-in-chief, Narendra Modi, through his preferred medium, Twitter.

Curiously, the morning newspapers had all led with the headline that the Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray was going to be Maharashtra chief minister.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar had made this big announcement to reporters on Friday night after it was clear the Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress had managed to sink their political differences and make common cause against the BJP.

For Prime Minister Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah, Pawar’s announcement was a call for them to don protective gear and descend into the political sewers.

The two leaders knew they could not afford to let the Maharashtra government out of their hands and had prepared the ground, from day one, to ensure the BJP returned to power. They had already played fast and loose with norms and principles; all that was required was a final act of brazenness, which they pulled off without any hesitation or embarrassment.

Here, in 10 steps, is how Modi and Shah cleared the way for Devendra Fadnavis to return as chief minister of Maharashtra.

1. Prior to the election campaign, the Modi government at the Centre got the investigative agencies to escalate corruption investigations and charges against NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel. The two Pawars were implicated in a Rs 25,000 crore scam involving the Maharashtra Cooperative Bank. Ajit Pawar, incidentally, was also being probed for the irrigation scam running into thousands of crores.

2. The election results threw up an ambiguous result. When it became clear the BJP, with 105 seats, did not have the numbers to form the government by itself that it was not at all keen to give in to the Shiv Sena’s insistence on the chief ministership, the BJP’s man in Raj Bhavan, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, delayed the entire process of government formation.

3. Governor Koshiyari issued a perfunctory invitation to Devendra Fadnavis on November 9, the day the term of the previous assembly expired, giving him 48 hours. When he refused, Shiv Sena was given 24 hours.

When they said they needed more time, he gave the NCP 24 hours but recommended president’s rule before that deadline had even expired. This recommendation was in violation of the Supreme Court’s Bommai judgment.

4. The Union cabinet quickly recommended president’s rule and President Ram Nath Kovind signed the papers. This was done to buy time for the BJP to break the other parties.

5. When it became clear that the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena had overcome their ideological and political differences and agreed on a coalition government under the chief ministership of the Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah went all out to ensure the new coalition does not come to power.

Sharad Pawar denies he was party to this deal; the BJP claims he was but then, quite frankly, anything the party says on Maharashtra needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

6. A deal was hatched under which Ajit Pawar, who was booked by the ED in September for the cooperative bank scam, agreed to support Devendra Fadnavis. He was offered the post deputy chief minister and obviously given assurances that the cases against him would go into limbo.

7. Ajit Pawar got his MLAs to sign a piece of paper which many of them have alleged was under false pretences. They signed a paper for their attendance, rather than for supporting Fadnavis as chief minister, they allege.

8. President Kovind was woken up and asked to sign a notification revoking Central rule in Maharashtra. He did this at 5:47 am. But the president could only act based on a recommendation of the cabinet, and there appears to have been no cabinet meeting or recommendation to that effect.

The government says it took recourse to Rule 12 of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, which says the “Prime Minister may, in any case or classes of cases permit or condone a departure from these rules, to the extent he deems necessary.”
However, this rule’s primary purpose is to deal with a “situation of extreme urgency or unforeseen contingency”, according to the Cabinet Secretariat. And the swearing in of a chief minister in this manner can hardly be considered a matter of “extreme urgency” – unless the government had something to hide.

9. Based on a questionable list of signatures of NCP MLAs, which Governor Koshiyari made no attempt to verify despite the fact that the NCP president, Sharad Pawar, had already announced the party’s backing of Thackeray, Fadnavis was sworn in at 7:30 am.

This was a blatant violation of the principles laid down by former president K R Narayanan, who said that governors who don’t take steps to ensure the chief minister they are swearing in actually has the support of the requisite number of MLAs will only end up encouraging bribery and horse-trading.

10. The only way Fadnavis can survive as chief minister on the floor of the assembly is if Ajit Pawar can bring two-thirds of the NCP’s 54 MLAs with him. This means 36 MLAs. Anything less than that means the MLAs on side would have deemed to have defected. But there’s plenty of slip between the cup of law and the lip of enforcement.

Ruling party speakers in the past have been notorious in their partisanship whenever the anti-defection law has to be invoked. And the courts, regrettably, can sometimes take forever to deliver their judgments.

Time will tell what role the courts, the Election Commission and also NCP president Sharad Pawar will play in the unfolding drama. But one things is clear. Future historians, if they are free to ply their craft, will speak of Narendra Modi and not Indira Gandhi as the prime minister who institutionalised venality and the debasement of institutions in politics.

Gent-Sint-Pieters – Ieper/Ypres – Commemoration of 1918 armistice

11 November 2019

I took the train to Poperinge via Ieper

The other side of the platform and the
Flemish government building

Commemoration of 1918 armistice
11 November 2019

Vandepeereboomplein and Menen Gate

On the look out for the Scottish sgian-dubh
that the Scots wear in their socks

In full rain gear, but the sgian-dubh or dirk is just visible

Band of the fire brigade

Enjoying the rain ?

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Pieter Friedrich – US Election: Why Tulsi Gabbard’s ‘Hindutva’ link deserves scrutiny

She is apparently the only candidate offering apologetics for Hindutva

Pieter Friedrich

After Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu to run for US president, failed to qualify for the September 2019 Democratic presidential debates, many wrote her campaign off as a lost cause.

Gabbard stuck it out. She pledged to soldier on until the Democratic Party’s National Convention in July 2020. And she started making headlines, including about her alleged support from both Putin’s Russia and India’s Hindu nationalist movement.

The news isn’t always positive but, as the saying goes, any press is good press.

“Hillary Clinton suggests Russians are ‘grooming’ Tulsi Gabbard for third-party run,” reported CNN in mid-October. Yet Gabbard shot back, calling Clinton “the queen of warmongers” and “embodiment of corruption”.

By mid-November, CNN was reporting that Gabbard actually received a boost after Clinton’s attacks raised her profile nationally.

Tulsi Gabbard on the Rise, Passing Up Kamala Harris

Gabbard is on the rise. While she is back in the debates, her poll numbers in early voting states like New Hampshire are steadily increasing, in NH, she has at times risen to fifth place out of a still-crowded Democratic primary of 18 candidates.

She has also outlasted formerly top-tier candidates like Beto O’Rourke and, in NH, is outpolling candidates who have outraised her.

For instance, Gabbard is passing up Kamala Harris, whose poll numbers crashed soon after the July debate in which Gabbard lashed out at her record as a prosecuting attorney. The Hawaiian congresswoman has only raised a quarter of the USD 36 million the Californian senator has pocketed.

Yet Harris, the only Indian-American candidate, is not only sinking in the polls but has failed to galvanise Indian diaspora support. As India Abroad reported in April, Indian-American donations to Gabbard surpassed those to Harris by a margin of more than 3 to 1.

Gabbard is making significant strides as she demonstrates a willingness to go head-to-head with her own party’s establishment.

During the 2016 presidential election, Clinton was widely perceived as “untrustworthy’ and “unethical”, a perception that Gabbard plays upon. On the eve of the 20 November Democratic debate, Gabbard’s attorneys accused Clinton of defamation, demanding she retract her 17 October description of the congresswoman as the “favourite of the Russians”.

RSS ‘Support’ of Tulsi Gabbard

Gabbard’s demand has some standing. On 24 October, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, a national media watch group, rubbished the allegations. “There is no evidence that Gabbard is any kind of Russian agent,” reported FAIR.

Such “silly accusations,” the group stated, are rather a nonsensical distraction from “the reality that Gabbard’s most troubling attribute is her documented connection to the far-right Hindu nationalist, or Hindutva, movement known as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent organisation of India’s ruling BJP party.”

That connection traces back to 2011, a year before Gabbard was first elected to the US Congress and long before the BJP rose to power in India.

As she sought election and then re-election, Gabbard owed much of her success to support from the same leaders of overseas wings of the RSS and BJP who mobilised to get Modi into office. Even as evidence of this connection emerged over the past year, her campaign has entrenched her notoriously close relationship with Modi while reciting RSS/BJP talking points in defence of the Hindu nationalist movement.

Tulsi Gabbard ‘Justifies’ Article 370 Revocation in Kashmir

Gabbard made a name for herself among American progressives in 2016 when she resigned from her powerful position on the Democratic National Committee to endorse socialist Bernie Sanders for president, a move that put her at odds with then Democratic front-runner Clinton.

Today, however, she is at odds with Sanders not only as his opponent in the 2020 Democratic primary but on foreign policy issues. One conspicuous example is their contrasting positions on Kashmir.

“I am also deeply concerned about the situation in Kashmir,” said Sanders on 31 August 2019, just three weeks after the abrogation of Article 370. Criticising the “communications blackout” and “crackdown in the name of ‘security’,” he declared, “India’s action is unacceptable.”

“It is complex,” said Gabbard when asked about Kashmir at an 8 September campaign rally. Referring to the 1990 exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, she said, “Many families were driven from their homes there, and fled, and have not been able to return home.”

Insisting that Kashmiri women previously had no rights to own property, she added, “The previous government had policies in place that made homosexuality illegal.”

Her rhetoric directly mirrored that of India’s right-wing which, as journalist Anish Gawande explained, increasingly adopts the argument that “Article 370 was removed to protect minorities.”

The result is that LGBTQ rights are “used as bait to target every voice decrying the changes to Article 370.” This tactic was forcefully employed in October, for instance, when masked protestors, shouting “Gay for J&K,” shut down a London University panel on Kashmir.

Gabbard Absent from ‘Howdy Modi’, Indian Ambassador Comes to Her ‘Rescue’ [bold]

None of the other Democratic presidential candidates have echoed Gabbard’s BJP-esque rhetoric.

“I’m really concerned about what’s happened in Kashmir,” said O’Rourke in mid-September (before he dropped out). Elizabeth Warren, currently a front-runner, recently remarked, “The rights of the people of Kashmir must be respected.” Even Harris warned that “we are all watching” and referred to the possible need to intervene to prevent any human rights abuses.

Gabbard’s interest in swimming against the progressive current was further illustrated by her response to Modi’s recent visit to the USA.

The ‘Howdy Modi’ rockstar reception on 22 September in Houston, Texas was supposed to be a propaganda bonanza for the BJP. As ANI reported, BJP Foreign Affairs Cell In-Charge, Vijay Chauthaiwale, “spearheaded the preparations.” Over 60 “prominent US lawmakers, including Tulsi Gabbard” were slated to attend, reported India Today.

The event ended in disarray. Ultimately, only 21 US congressional representatives attended. Only one of five Indian-American lawmakers — Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, showed up.

Even Gabbard herself was a no-show, although her exit was clouded by confusion. Reports circulated that she dropped out in solidarity with fellow Hindu-American Congressman Ro Khanna’s recent call to “reject Hindutva”, yet, reported DNA India, she “vehemently denied the claims.” India’s ambassador to the US, Harsh Shringla, rushed to her defence, calling her a “staunch supporter” of Modi.

Issuing a welcome video, she apologised for missing Modi’s rockstar reception “due to previously scheduled presidential campaign events.” She added that a strong partnership with India can “bring about the ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, a phrase (meaning “the world is one family”) which professor Audrey Truschke noted has been adopted by Hindutva groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

Tulsi Gabbard on Hindu Nationalism

Of the 65,000 people present at “Howdy Modi,” an estimated 15,000 were protestors outside the event. Yet Gabbard stated the event was “bringing together Indian-Americans and Hindu-Americans from across our country.” Then she met Modi on 27 September in New York City.

It was their fifth meeting in five years.

As Gabbard met Modi, Truschke and others were outside protesting. “Modi and his political party, the BJP, openly adhere to Hindutva,” declared Truschke at the protest. “The Modi sarkar [government] has made it very clear that all who oppose Hindutva are enemies.

Really, anyone who merely accurately describes Hindutva is an enemy in the eyes of the Modi government. As a result, the BJP and associated groups have ruthlessly attacked the media, academics, and any other dissenters in India.”

Yet Gabbard was unfazed.

That weekend, her campaign launched a new fundraiser, a raffle for a free trip to India.

Featuring a photo of her garlanding Modi, the fundraiser was hosted at the (now defunct) URL:

In a 13 October interview with Gabbard, The Times of India, noting that she had missed ‘Howdy Modi’, asked, “How do you view such rallies and the expression of what some people see as an upsurge of Hindu nationalism and Hindu pride?”

She responded: “Hindu nationalism is a term that many people are using frequently without being specific about what they mean by that. Why is expressing pride in one’s religion a bad thing?”

Gabbard further asked, “If you take out the word Hindu and you replace it with Muslim or Catholic or Jewish, then what do you end up with?” The answer is, of course, you end up with religious nationalism no matter which religious label precedes the “nationalism” term.

Gabbard Not the Only US Congressional Rep With RSS Links

Tulsi Gabbard is not the only Democratic presidential candidate with links to India’s far-right, though she is apparently the only one offering apologetics for Hindutva and its alleged atrocities.

“Links to Modi and Hindu nationalism can even be found in at least three Democratic presidential campaigns,” wrote journalist Rashmee Kumar. She cited frontrunner Joe Biden, whose campaign recently hired the son of the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) co-founder and Pete Buttigieg, whose campaign policy director is the former national coordinator of VHP-America and daughter of a former OFBJP vice-president.

Nor is Gabbard the only US congressional representative associated with the RSS.

Raja Krishnamoorthi joined RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat at last year’s World Hindu Congress in Chicago, an event Gabbard, after months of pressure, eventually publicly dropped out of, and recently headlined a celebration of the RSS’s founding organised by the group’s international wing, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.

FAIR reported, Gabbard has “received crucial financial support from the Indian-American far right.” Her funding from RSS-affiliated donors traces back to before she was first elected in November 2012. In 2013, approximately 21 percent of her donations came from members and executives of Hindutva groups, rising to approximately 24 percent in her second year in office.

While Clinton levels allegations that incite American political commentators to rant about Gabbard’s perceived support from Russia, they overlook the real hard evidence that her actual support comes from, and goes to India’s Hindu nationalist movement.

Gabbard Has Found Her Niche As ‘Anti-Establishment’, ‘Anti-War’ Candidate

In late October 2019, Gabbard announced that she won’t seek re-election to US Congress. “I’ve always done my best to serve where I felt I could make the most impact,” she declared. “I believe I can best serve the people of Hawaii and our country as your President.”

“I’m running for president to rebuild our Democratic party, take it out of the hands of the foreign policy establishment in Washington, the military industrial complex, and greedy corporate interests and truly put it in the hands of the people,” she declared at the 20 November debate.

Cashing in on her military service, she added, “I volunteered to deploy to Iraq where every single day I saw the terribly high human cost of war. No, I’m not going to put party interest first. I will put the interest of the American people above all else.”

Gabbard’s Rhetoric Echoes Trump’s ‘Drain the Swamp’ Slogan

Her rhetoric is reminiscent of Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” slogan. It’s a populist, anti-corruption, proletariat vs bourgeoisie message.

Perhaps then it’s not surprising that Gabbard’s support base overlaps with Trump’s, as one analysis of poll respondents revealed, her supporters “are more likely to have backed President Trump in 2016, hold conservative views or identify as Republican compared to voters backing the other candidates.”

Her no-holds-barred brawl with Clinton, who, as the 2016 Democratic nominee, was the subject of “lock her up” chants at Trump campaign rallies, has certainly won her fans on the Right. Even Trump’s campaign has applauded her criticism of her own party.

Tulsi Gabbard is in an all-or-nothing campaign for president.

She is rising in the polls and remains standing as others who once appeared strong fall by the wayside. She faces long odds to secure the nomination, but that was also once true of Donald Trump.

Whatever comes to pass, since she appears certain to stay in the presidential race at least until July 2020, her association with the international Hindutva movement deserves deeper scrutiny.

Published by The Quint

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at – In charts: Did Delhi’s odd-even vehicle plan help improve its air pollution problem?

Research shows that the scheme, along with suitable weather conditions, led to a marginal improvement in Delhi’s air quality in 2016.

Vijayta Lalwani & Nithya Subramanian

New Delhi – India, 23 November 2019. The National Capital and the areas around it struggled for breath in October and early in November as pollution levels reached hazardous levels .

Contributing to the filthy air was smoke from crop stubble burnt in the nearby agricultural states of Punjab and Haryana, vehicular and industrial emissions in the capital as well as dust from construction work. Low temperatures during the period strengthened the smog blanket as the colder air made it more difficult for the pollutants to disperse.

As pollution levels rose, Delhi’s Graded Response Action Plan went into effect. Construction activity was halted and schools were ordered shut.

Significantly, the odd-even scheme went into effect. The scheme, which allows vehicles with odd-numbered licence plates on the road on dates with odd numbers and those with even-numbered plates on others, was implemented for the first time in 2016 in two phases. It ran from 8 am till 8 pm on all days except Sundays. Two-wheelers and vehicles driven by women were exempt from the scheme.

The third edition was enforced from November 4 to 15, but was suspended on November 11 and November 12 on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti.

Compared to the second phase in April 2016, the fines levied by the police on motorists violating the scheme this year fell by 50%. In April 2016, fine had been imposed on 9,576 motorists, reported the Hindustan Times. This year, action was taken against 4,885 motorists.

But did reducing the number of vehicles on the road result in lower pollution levels? Experts are wary of drawing conclusions from the data, adding that an analysis of pollution levels must consider multiple factors, including weather conditions.

What data shows

For this analysis, picked four air-quality monitoring stations spread around Delhi, RK Puram in South Delhi, Anand Vihar in East Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Central Delhi and Punjabi Bagh in West Delhi.

All four stations are monitored by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, an autonomous body under the Delhi government. Daily averages were used from the hourly data recorded from 9 am till 9 pm between November 4 and November 15. On some days, data was not recorded by the monitoring agency for a few hours.

In the chart below, it can be seen that PM 2.5 levels started to increase after October 27.

See original article

Particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (or about a ten-thousandth of an inch) is particularly dangerous to human health. Such particles are small enough to travel deep into the respiratory system, potentially hurting lung function. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards require PM 2.5 concentration be less than 60 micrograms per cubic metre of air, in any given 24 hour period.

On 03 November, levels peaked as Delhi experienced its worst air quality during the season.

On 04 November, on the first day of odd-even, these levels suddenly dropped and the city had cleaner air to breathe. On the next day, the air quality improved further as the wind speed picked. This trend continued until November 10 after which PM 2.5 levels started to increase steadily.

Similar trends were also noticed in PM 10 levels or particulate matter the size of 10 micrometers. also analysed the 24-hour average PM 2.5 concentrations in the regions adjoining Delhi, where the scheme was not implemented.

In Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh and Gurugram, Haryana, a similar drop in particulate matter in the air was observed between November 4 to 10. Both places, because of their proximity to Delhi, could be expected to experience similar wind patterns as the capital. The data indicates that Delhi’s PM 2.5 levels were marginally lower than its adjoining regions, but this was also true on some of the days before the odd-even scheme was introduced.

Outcome in 2016

On 15 November, the Supreme Court expressed concern about the effectiveness of the odd-even policy. Studies about the operation of the scheme in 2016 showed that there were marginal improvements in Delhi’s air quality as a result of several factors.

When the policy was first implemented between 01 and 15 January 2016, particulate matter 2.5 levels fell by 4%-6%, found a study by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, The Energy Research Institute and National Physical Laboratory in Delhi, and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune.

The study noted that this was not a significant consequence of the policy, considering that it was taken as an emergency measure. “The failure is attributed to stable meteorological conditions (winds are not strong enough to disperse PM 2.5 away) during the period and there was no control over PM 2.5 outside the periphery of the city,” the study states.

Another study concluded that the first phase of odd-even in 2016 led to a reduction of 13% in particulate matter concentrations. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago and Harvard University. The study noted that the reduction in particulate matter was highest in the mornings from 11 am till 2 pm, but no such improvement was noticed at night.

The study also found that compared to levels in other states, Delhi did not show any significant improvement in the second phase of the policy in April 2016.

Interestingly, the study noted that similar car rationing schemes implemented in China and Mexico did not yield satisfactory results because of non-compliance.

The Central Pollution Control Board also carried out a study of the two phases in 2016. It concluded that a single factor could not result in substantial reductions in pollution and that an “integrated approach” was needed.

“With no clear trend and wide fluctuations observed in the concentrations, it is evident that the meteorology and emissions from other polluting sources have been major factors impacting air quality of Delhi during the period,” the study noted.

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