Odd-Even Debut Run: Delhi Mostly Embraced Government’s Efforts
A view of smog at New Delhi’s India Gate. (Photo: PTI)
A view of smog at New Delhi’s India Gate. (Photo: PTI)
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Odd-Even Debut Run: Delhi Mostly Embraced Government’s Efforts

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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”.

Despite the odd-even scheme having started and the number of cars on the roads going down, the pollution level has not been affected as the pollutants which have gathered in the air till today stay close to the ground in winter. They get trapped in the air.

Vikrant Tongad, Environmentalist

AAP Remains Enthusiastic

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.

Upadhyay said,

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”.

Volunteers carrying roses. (Photo: AP)
Volunteers carrying roses. (Photo: AP)
A member of civil defense holds roses and others hold placards at a traffic intersection. (Photo: AP) 
A member of civil defense holds roses and others hold placards at a traffic intersection. (Photo: AP) 

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.

It is a wonderful start to the new year. My new year resolution is to restrict the use of my vehicle to Sundays. Those of us who stay nearby will cycle to college and those who stay far can use the metro and then cycle from the station to college.

Kushan Mehta, SRCC student

DU students take the lead. (Photo courtesy: AAP in News Twitter page)
DU students take the lead. (Photo courtesy: AAP in News Twitter page)

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.

The tourists are at ease today. Otherwise, they always criticise the traffic system and long (traffic) jams in Delhi. I have been driving taxi for 15 years and congestion has been a major problem. I believe it is good step by the government.

But that’s not the case with everyone, sometimes, even those who own multiple cars.

I have two cars which are both odd so that means I work just half a week or I take cabs. Now, I cannot predict emergency, the most essential service as far as Delhi is concerned is the medical force and we are not exempted under the scheme.

Doctor Advocating Exemption for Medical Professionals

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

 Volunteers with traffic police explaining the rules to an even number car owner. (Photo: PTI)
Volunteers with traffic police explaining the rules to an even number car owner. (Photo: PTI)

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.

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