Odd-Even Scheme Kicks in; ‘Overwhelmed’ Arvind Kejriwal Carpools
As the clock ticked eight, the odd-even vehicular restriction policy of the Delhi government came into effect on Friday. Thousands of volunteers assisted traffic police in enforcing the pilot plan that will stay in force in the national capital till January 15.
As per the scheme, cars bearing odd-numbered registration plates shall ply on city roads today while those with even number plates, if taken out, will attract a penalty of Rs 2,000 under relevant sections of the Motor Vehicles Act.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal was seen carpooling with Cabinet Ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendra Jain to Delhi Secretariat on Friday.
Thousands of civil defence volunteers, traffic police personnel, enforcement teams of Delhi government’s transport department and authorised sub-divisional magistrates have been deployed to implement the scheme which kicked in at 8 AM and will be in force till 8 PM.
Delhi government, with the help of traffic police, had on Thursday conducted a rehearsal ahead of the roll out of the scheme and hundreds of civil defence volunteers were seen assisting police teams in several parts of the city.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had warned volunteers against “arguing or misbehaving” with people while top cop BS Bassi has assured full cooperation in implementing the vehicular restrictions.
A display board installed in front of Delhi Secretariat put the real-time figures of suspended particulate matter PM 2.5 and PM 10 at 360 and 480 micrograms per cubic metre, respectively, at 9.30 AM, several times above the safe limits.
The respective safety limits are 60 and 100 micrograms for the two and prolonged exposure to anything beyond that can harm the respiratory system. Air quality is considered ‘severe’ by Indian authorities when the level of PM 2.5 breaches the 250 mark.
Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra reached the Secretariat riding his two-wheeler at around 9 AM.
Two-wheelers are included in the list of 25 categories that have been kept out of the ambit of the scheme.
The rest of the Cabinet, including Kejriwal, carpooled to work and used public transport. The chief minister will share his car with Transport Minister Gopal Rai and PWD Minister Satyendar Jain while Environment Minister Imran Hussain and Social Welfare Minister Sandeep Kumar will take an auto and a bus, respectively, to reach Delhi Secretariat.
The Delhi government has arranged for 3,000 extra buses to ply in the city to facilitate movement while Delhi Metro will be running 70 extra trips across all its corridors for the period during which the restrictions are in place.
(with inputs from PTI)