The AAP government on Friday told the Delhi High Court that it needs to continue the odd-even scheme, implemented to curb pollution in the national capital, till 15 January and may extend it if required.
"15 days are not enough. If needed we may have to go beyond that," India Today quoted the Delhi government as saying to the court.
The High Court, which heard as many as eight PILs filed against the odd-even rule on Wednesday, had asked the Aam Aadmi Party government to submit a report on the assessment of the pollution level in Delhi after the implementation of the scheme.
It had also observed that the odd-even plan is causing inconvenience to the public due to "inadequate" public transport and asked if it could end the scheme on 8 January.
Responding to the court's query on Friday, the Delhi government said, "there is a need to implement it for 15 days. In winters, the pollution is anyway high as wind speed is low. The formula has been able to stop pollution-levels from further going up. The odd-even is just a start, according to IBN Live.
Dense fog enveloped the capital on Friday, reducing visibility to less than 50 metres and causing delays for as many as 100 flights.
After the hearing, the court reportedly allowed the government to continue with the scheme till Monday. It has reserved its order on the odd-even matter for now and will announce the verdict on the same day.
Gopal Rai, the Delhi Transport and Rural Development Minister, said the government will assess the data on pollution level after 15 January and will accordingly take the decision, ANI reported.
"The scheme "will continue till 15th Jan. After that we will look into the statistics and decide further course of action," ANI quoted Rai as saying.
"Collecting efficient data with regard to strength and weakness of odd-even formula. Government to take a call after reviewing all data post 15 January," Rai said.
The Delhi government has cited a report by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority and said a positive impact on the environment has been observed after the scheme was brought into force.
"Pollution will not disappear in one month. It will take a long time before the air quality improves. This pilot project is only for the welfare of public," lawyer Harish Salve, representing the AAP government, said.
The odd-even scheme was implemented in Delhi on 1 January, 2016, with exemptions on Sundays. Women drivers and two-wheelers were exempted from the scheme, which allows cars with even number plates to ply on even dates and vehicles with odd number plates on odd dates, between 8 am and 8 pm.