₹33.3 crore for odd-even ad campaign: Publicity dept red-flags cost-effective

New Delhi: Three days before the odd-even road rationing scheme comes into effect on Monday, the directorate of information and publicity (DIP) Thursday red-flagged the Delhi government’s plan to set aside ₹33.3 crore for publicising the scheme, and has asked the transport department to cite the cost-effectiveness of the planned ad campaign.

The objection by the director of DIP, SP Singh, came a day after the Delhi cabinet, on October 30, cleared the odd-even campaign proposal of the transport department to spread awareness among the public.

“The commissioner (transport) has been asked to cite the cost effectiveness of the planned campaign. The DIP also pointed out that both environment and transport departments have planned similar advertisement campaigns,” a senior DIP official said.

The transport department, however, in its cabinet note stated that such a “public awareness campaign” was required “given the situation of environmental emergency that exists in Delhi today”. “It is essential to carry out a large-scale public awareness campaign and build a public buy-in for participation in odd-even scheme of government of NCT of Delhi (sic),” the department’s note read.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced the return of the odd-even road space rationing drive on September 13 as a measure to control air pollution that usually spikes in the days following Diwali. With stubble burning in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana increasing since Monday, Delhi has remained in the severe category of pollution since October 27 (Diwali).

The road rationing drive will start Monday and will continue till November 15. It will be enforced on all private petrol, diesel, CNG and hybrid cars, including those coming entering the city from other states.

On Wednesday, the Delhi Cabinet, chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, had cleared a four-tier “public awareness campaign” for the odd-even drive.

The government had approved ₹6 crore each for outdoor and newspaper campaigns. For TV commercials, it had set aside ₹17.5 crore, while ₹3.8 crore would be spent on radio ads.

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