Final day of Delhi’s odd-even trial run

RSTV Bureau

oddevenstarts2It’s the final day of Delhi government’s odd-even car rationing scheme. A first of its kind scheme in India, which began at 8am on January 1, will end at 8pm on Friday, January 15.

On the last day of the trial run, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanked the people of Delhi for its success. He said the scheme shows Delhi can match world class cities like Singapore in its discipline and systems.

“Lots of people talk about how great the system is in Singapore, elsewhere… but odd-even proved the same can be done here,” said the CM.

The Delhi government is now likely to hold a review meeting on Monday to evaluate the impact of the scheme on pollution levels in the city. The crucial review meeting will decide if the government wants to adopt the scheme on a more permanent basis and take it to its next level after further improving the public transport system in the city.

“Pollution did go down, yes… but there was also less traffic congestion. If you spent four hours on the roads, you could now do the same distance in two hours,” claimed Kejriwal.

Even though the government claims that the pollution in Delhi came down, it has been disputed whether it actually did. According to reports, the air quality levels remained “very unhealthy” on Friday.

The state-run System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research showed levels of particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers hovering between “very poor” and “severe” during the trial period, which continued to be well above the WHO’s safe limit.

The 15-day trial was enforced to curb alarming levels of pollution in capital. Under the scheme, private cars with even and odd number plates were only allowed on to ply on alternate days. And a fine of Rs 2000 was imposed on the people found violating the rule. But, the Delhi government had come up with a number of exceptions to rule. The list included 25 categories under which people could claim exemption. These included, single women drivers, VIPs and emergency vehicles and emergency situations.

Saturday (January 16) onwards, both odd and even numbered cars will be allowed on Delhi roads. But the Chief Minister has urged people to continue with their mission to curb pollution levels in Delhi by using public transport and engaging in car pooling more often.