The odd-even policy in New Delhi got mixed reactions from commuters. For the most part, people seem to have cooperated. The chief minister thanked traffic police and people for their help and support. Police sources tell NDTV that around 150 people have been fined so far.
Meanwhile, experts say it might take a little more time for actual results in terms of reducing air pollution.
Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist working with Delhi-based Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), analysed the Air Quality Index (AQI).
According to the US Embassy in New Delhi, AQI stood at 269 which is considered “very unhealthy”.
Centre Supports, State Unit Criticises
Even as the centre assured support to the AAP government, state BJP chief Satish Upadhyay criticised the odd-even policy. He said the experiment was full of issues and was implemented without adequate discussion.
I have both odd and even numbered vehicles but when I received a call about an injured party worker, I could not move immediately as only even numbered vehicle was available. The odd numbered one was being used by my son. Finally, I called a friend but I was delayed half an hour in taking the worker to trauma centre.
Upadhyay also said, “Also, there are problems like women not being allowed to drive along with say their male family members even if they do not know driving. Many drivers who were driving even numbered cars paid fine just because they had no availability of public transport to their workplaces”.
Thank You All, Says Kejriwal
In an interview with CNN-IBN, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanked the traffic department for their cooperation and also the media for debating the issue and spreading awareness.
Police say the violations have been minimum and that most Delhiites are complying with the rules.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Sharad Aggarwal said, “There have been very few violations. Even those who violated the restriction had some valid reason... or they were among those exempted. Most people, our officers say, are following the scheme”.
In a Gandhian approach, the volunteers were given roses after being fined. Unfortunately, one of the violators on day one was BJP MP Satyapal Singh.
DU Students Take the Lead
Students of Delhi University have taken this opportunity to start their own anti-pollution campaign – Save Delhi, Save India.
The colleges are closed for a winter break till January 4 but the students cycled to the campus from their homes.
Srija Gautam, a Hindu College student, said, “The formula might pose certain difficulties in the beginning as a majority find travelling by cars comfortable. But we have to make a start somewhere, and now is the time. Save Delhi, Save India.”
Cycling from Civil Lines to Arts Faculty, Pratiti Diddi said, “We wanted to cycle to college despite it being a holiday so that we can set an example for the other students. We are young, we have to take the lead.”
On That Note
The new year began on an odd note. Not to worry, we’re talking about the registration numbers of cars plying on the streets of Delhi.
Cars with even number plates, if taken out, will attract a penalty of Rs 2,000 under relevant sections of the Motor Vehicles Act. It will be vice-versa tomorrow.
Two hundred teams of Traffic Police, 66 enforcement teams of transport department and 40 teams of sub-divisional magistrates were deployed to ensure strict implementation of the scheme which is stipulated till 8 pm on week days.
Commuters have given mixed responses from calling the approach “futuristic” to “impractical”
Gyanatosh Jha, a marketing professional supports the policy.
It is definitely difficult to begin with. Someone who has driven down to office for few years can’t easily get used to travelling by metro or public buses instantly. But considering the congestion and increasing pollution, I believe this is a futuristic approach which was urgently needed at the moment.
Rafeeq, a taxi driver, said that his passengers were happy to see less traffic.
But that’s not the case with everyone, sometimes, even those who own multiple cars.
He added, “I think the idea is good but I will request the chief minister to relook at the modalities. A lot of us are in intensive care practice and they should look at it sensitively”.
New Year’s New Experiment
The national capital started 2016 with the state government’s newest experiment, the odd-even policy. But merely two hours after its implementation, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced it a success.
While there is no way to ascertain if the experiment indeed worked, the response from Delhiites has been mixed. Some seem to have given it a shot despite the inconvenience but some others are staunchly against it.
(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit the Subscribe button.)