Kejri pools car on Day 1 of odd-even run

Kejri pools car on Day 1 of odd-even run

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers led by example by pooling cars, using public transport and, in one case, a motorbike to reach the secretariat on Friday, the first day of the car-rationing experiment.

Kejriwal, who said he was “truly overwhelmed” by the public response, set the tone for the day with a tweet which brought lakhs of motorists together to clean the city’s air.
“Am pooling my car n going to office with 2 ministers, my PS and my Joint Secy,” he tweeted as his official SUV set off for the secretariat.

He brought along two ministers—Transport Minister Gopal Rai and Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

Hailing Delhiites encouraging response, Kejriwal later told reporters: “It is a historic step towards reducing pollution level and Delhiites have adopted the plan and will set an example for the rest of the country.”

“Delhi has done it! Reports so far v encouraging. Delhiites! U give me hope that U are capable of achieving big challenges,” he said in another tweet.

He also offered a healing touch to those who suffered or faced inconvenience by telling reporters that the January 1-15 curbs on cars were not going to be permanent.
Such curbs can be imposed whenever pollution levels go up alarmingly, he told a news channel.

The day also saw the flagging off by Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain of a free electric-bike taxi service for 15 days. The vehicles are to be used to offer last-mile connectivity to Metro commuters at select stations.

Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra, who came to the Secretariat from his home in East Delhi, tweeted: “Wow Delhi Thank you for making #OddEvenFormula a success... just reached office on bike.. no traffic.. Delhi is following it voluntarily :)”

 “Delhiites have shown that they can not only change the politics of this country but also fight pollution,” he said.

The mood outside the secretariat was virtually festive as all Cabinet ministers showed respect for the odd-even plan and posed for shutterbugs and gave long bytes to the media.

Environment Minister Imran Hussain used an e-rickshaw and auto-rickshaw to commute as his car has an even-numbered license plate.

Social Welfare Minister Sandeep Kumar used an autorickshaw while Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia rode a bus on Day 1 of the new rules.

“I own a car that ends with odd number, I will use it on odd days, and on even days I will reach Delhi Secretariat on cycle,” Sisodia said.

Sisodia will cycle from his Mathura Road-based residence on Saturday. "For the sake of the city, it's time to stop thinking that we have to use our own car all the time," he said. The transport minister will come to office in his even number car and then from secretariat, he will take a bus tour.

Mishra plans to stick to his motorbike—as two-wheelers are exempted from restrictions—to travel between his Yamuna Vihar residence and secretariat.

The real test of the scheme's effectiveness will be on Monday as a number of private offices are closed today.

Also the schools are having winter vacation, which would have taken off some load off the roads.

Soon pollution meters in 66 cities
With big Indian cities experiencing a deteriorating air quality, the environment ministry is set to put up pollution measurement instruments in 66 cities with more than 1 million population to estimate the extent of pollution, DHNS reports from New Delhi. The ministry on Friday decided to install machines to gauge pollution levels in 66 cities with a population of more than 1 million, it said in a statement.

1st offender says  he had ‘no option’
The first prosecution for violating Delhi government’s odd-even scheme took place at ITO junction about 33 minutes after the restrictions became operational at 8 am on Friday, PTI reports from New Delhi. The offender, who was slapped with the stipulated Rs 2,000 fine, told the police that he was heading towards his office and there was no convenient transportation facility from his residence near Pari Chowk, the intersection between NOIDA and Greater NOIDA, said a senior traffic official.

“The offender, who was driving a car with its registration number ending with 2 (even), was prosecuted at the ITO intersection around 8.33 am,” the official said. “The offender claimed that he knew about the restrictions but had no other option,” said the official. As the much-debated Odd-Even scheme restricting movement of private cars in the national capital was rolled out on Friday, the Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi once again appealed to people to cooperate with his force throughout the 15 days.

BJP MP Satyapal breaks rule, warned
BJP MP and former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh was among the 117 motorists who shamed the polluted city by not following the odd-even car rationing scheme on Friday.

The Baghpat MP was not challaned but sensitised when a traffic constable flagged down his SUV with an even number in the India Gate area.

Singh was sitting in the rear seat while a driver was at the wheel. He remained in his vehicle while the traffic police staff inquired about the reason why he did not follow the odd-even plan, said an official.

Transport Minister Gopal Rai said a total of 117 motorists were made to pay a fine of Rs 2,000. The BJP MP was let off with a leaflet of rules of on car rationing.



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