Delhi’s Tryst With Odd-Even: Has Arvind Kejriwal Got it Right?

Some are full of praise, others still apprehensive but odd-even move has got everyone talking about air pollution 

Updated
India
3 min read
A volunteer holds a placard which reads “We will make a pollution free city” at a traffic intersection in New Delhi, Friday, January 1, 2016. (Photo: AP)

While the jury is still out on the Delhi government’s odd-even plan, commentary in newspapers and online chatter seem to point in a positive direction, with some humour, marking what is being termed as a good start for now.

Sociologist Dipankar Gupta, in his latest article, emphasised the need to focus on people and not vehicles. He stresses that the rationalisation of vehicles is not a smart move when public transport is in shambles. Taking a cue from New York and London, the piece suggests revamping public transport in a bid to discourage private vehicles from plying on the roads.

Vehicles move through morning smog on the first day of a two-week experiment to reduce the number of cars to fight pollution in New Delhi,   January 1, 2016. (Photo: AP)
Vehicles move through morning smog on the first day of a two-week experiment to reduce the number of cars to fight pollution in New Delhi, January 1, 2016. (Photo: AP)

Has Delhi Set An Example?

Senior journalist and Roving Editor of The Telegraph Sankarshan Thakur wrote about his personal experience on the first day of the odd-even plan. His trip from Gurgaon to Parliament Street in central Delhi seemed to be a hassle-free ride, with only odd-numbered vehicles hitting the roads on January 1. Defying expectations, Delhi, known for its brashness, decided to abide by the pollution-control measure. But, as Thakur points out, parking woes continue to plague the city.

Online Buzz

True to its spirit, social media did not miss out on the opportunity to express praise, criticism and other general comments.

Despite Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s request to not politicise the issue, Kejriwal himself could not help taking a dig at Delhi’s L-G and the Centre, as Rajdeep Sardesai’s tweet shows.

Meanwhile, there were some unique takes on the odd-even issue, like the Visual Column’s graphic cartoons.

Electric Buses ‘Aap Ke Liye’

That’s what economist Abhijit Banerjee suggested in his recent piece. As they say, the real joy of the pudding is in eating. Similarly, for the Delhi government, the real test of the odd-even plan will be in the enforcement. As Banerjee suggests, certain measures, such as levying a fine as high as Rs 10,000, video patrolling of vehicles and tracking false number plate via an in-built chip, should be considered to make the plan more effective.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal carpools with Transport Minister Gopal Rai and Health Minister Satyendra Jain. (Photo: PTI)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal carpools with Transport Minister Gopal Rai and Health Minister Satyendra Jain. (Photo: PTI)

Smart Political Move?

Before the vehicle rationalisation move was implemented, Mukul Kesavan had predicted in December, in a piece for The Telegraph, that perhaps Kejriwal has made the right move in the terrain of urban politics. The article talked at length about the arguments in favour and against the Delhi government’s decision that followed after the success of two car-free days observed earlier. Terming the attitude of car owners as ‘insulated narcissism’, Kesavan suggested the most urgent need was a mindset change. With depleting levels of air quality surely the proud Dilli ka car walas can’t have it on their terms anymore.

Also Read Without Effective Planning Delhi’s Odd-Even Plan Will Create Chaos
Delhi’s Odd-Even Plan: Going Too Far But Not Far Enough?

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Published: 
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!