Delhi makes an ‘odd’ start to 2016 to fight pollution

RSTV Bureau

New Delhi : Volunteers with traffic police explaining the rules to an even number car owner near the Nizamuddin Bridge as Odd-even scheme restricting movement of private cars, becomes operational in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

Delhi saw an ‘odd’ start to the New Year. Delhi government’s ambitious odd-even scheme kickstarted from 8 am on Friday morning.

A first of its kind intervention in the country to combat spiraling air pollution, the odd-even scheme was supposed to keep half the private cars off the roads in Delhi.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he was “overwhelmed” by the response of the people to the car rationing scheme. He also said that the experiment was turning “into a movement”.

“I repeatedly said that the scheme will meet with success only when people embrace it and not though force. It has become a movement and we are truly overwhelmed by the response we have received so far….Delhi will show the way to the rest of the country,” Kejriwal told reporters outside his residence on Friday morning.

200 teams of traffic police, 66 enforcement teams of the transport department and 40 teams of sub-divisional magistrates were deployed across the city to ensure strict implementation of the scheme. Hundreds of AAP volunteers carrying roses also took to the streets to assist the traffic policemen to enforce the scheme. The odd-even rule will be on till 8 pm today. And the scheme will last from 8 am to 8 pm until January 15, barring Sundays.

On Friday, private cars bearing only odd-numbered registration plates were allowed to ply on city roads. Anyone driving a car with an even number plate was expected to attract a penalty of Rs 2,000. And on even dates, only those cars with number plates ending with an even number will be allowed.

Delhi odd even exemptionsTo compensate the additional pressure on public transport, 3000 extra buses were deployed in the city. The Delhi Metro too chipped in. It decided to run 70 extra trips.

Twitter, the microblogging site is also helping commuters find information about bus routes and metro routes by sending commuters real-time public transport updates.

However, the real test of the scheme’s effectiveness will be seen on Moday as a number of private offices are closed on Friday, January 1.

“Wow Delhi Thank you for making #OddEvenFormula a success… just reached office on bike.. no traffic.. Delhi is following it voluntarily,” tweeted Delhi’s Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra after reaching the Secretariat on his two-wheeler.

The odd-even rationing only applies to private cars. Two-wheelers are exempted from the scheme. There are another 24 categories under which people can claim exemption. These include, single women drivers, VIPs, emergency situations among others.

(With inputs from PTI)