Delhi air pollution
The Supreme Court asked the government why it needs differential treatment in relation to the regulations to curb pollution. Picture: A view of a very polluted west DelhiCreative Commons/Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier

Declaring the blueprint of the odd-even number plate formula to be implemented in National Capital Region from 1 January, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said all VIPs would be exempt from the rule, except for him.

He also added that the new policy would be applicable only on 1-15 January.

The short-term curative measure comes as a much-needed attempt to curb emissions and lower the escalated particulate matter level in the Delhi-NCR region. On 23 December, Delhi recorded the highest level of air pollution. PM 2.5 levels were at 295 microgram/m3 and PM10 levels were at 470 microgram/m3, according to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

"Most countries have such plans when pollution levels go alarmingly high. We will do an assessment at the end of the 15 days," TOI quoted Kejriwal as saying. "If people accept this plan and execute it on a large scale, we will think about having it as a permanent measure."

Explaining the leeway given, he said vehicles meant for essential services like fire brigades, police, CNG, hybrid cars and cars with only women passengers would be exempted.

Flouting the rule in that two-week period will cost people Rs 2,000 as fine. However, the odd-even formula will only be applicable from 8 am to 8 pm on all days, except Sunday.

Addressing concerns about access and frequency of public transport, the chief m,inister said: "Metro will run at peak frequency. More buses and autos will be introduced. Mobile applications for car-pooling and auto-call have been announced."

It is estimated that 10 lakh cars will go off roads each day during the period when the formula will be in place.

Apart from the smog that has been enveloping the city for the past few days, causing fatal accidents, 2.5PM levels, which according to a research are known to cause heart attack in individuals with cardiac conditions, have also been higher.