Odd-even formula kicks off in Delhi

Odd-even formula kicks off in Delhi

Delhi’s 15-day odd-even car scheme started on Friday with even-numbered vehicles by and large staying off roads.

Transport Minister Gopal Rai thanked people of Delhi for making the Delhi government’s road rationing scheme a success and choosing health over comfort.

The initial data on level of pollution from different centres show a reduction in vehicular emissions, he said.

He claimed the Delhi Police and other government agencies involved in implementing the odd-even car scheme did a good job.

According to PTI, 203 people were challaned on the first day.Violators coughed up Rs 2,000 as fine, as per the odd-even rule.

Even though the odd-even formula scheme disqualifies nearly 10 lakh private vehicles from plying on Delhi roads, traffic congestion peaked as the day progressed.

Some central places like Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Ashoka Road and Connaught Place saw heavy traffic in the evening due to the New Year rush, the Delhi Traffic Police said.

In an attempt to lead the city with example, the chief minister and his Cabinet, who are not exempted from the odd-even rule, either carpooled or used public transport to reach the Delhi Secretariat. Delhi Culture Minister Kapil Mishra drove a bike to the Secretariat from his Yamuna Vihar residence.

“In the chief minister’s car, there was space for seven persons, and so many travelled,” Rai said, while addressing a press conference on Friday. He said during his two-hour inspection visit on a DTC bus, he didn’t find a single case of “odd-even rule violations”.

“The real test of the scheme will be on Monday when offices will reopen after the weekend festivity,” Ayan Joshi, a Mayur Vihar resident, said.

The Nodia-based multinational company executive gets a carpooling assistance from his office, but he says he will prefer to book cabs to reduce his commuting time.  

According to the government, the Transport Department received over 200 complaints regarding autorickshaw drivers refusing a ride or overcharging. At least 66 three wheelers were challaned till Friday evening, Gopal Rai said.

The government had deployed 200 teams of civil defence volunteers alongside the Delhi Police to ensure compliance of the scheme. Rai told reporters: “Effort today was to create awareness. Civil defence volunteers found it hard to practice gandhigiri, couldn’t find people to give roses to.” Roses are given to violators as part of the government’s odd-even awareness drive.

The AAP government on Friday also put up hundreds of hoardings and posters across the city to inform denizens about the new car curbs.

Starting from January 1, the government has begun its 15-day long road rationing experiment, which is part of the Arvind Kejriwal government’s attempts to tackle deteriorating air quality in the capital. Odd numbered cars are allowed on odd days, while even numbered cars can ply on even numbered days. The scheme will not be in effect on Sundays.

“In maximum places, pollution levels are going down slowly as revealed by the pollution measuring centres,” Rai said, adding that Delhiites enjoyed “traffic-free roads” on the first day of odd-even trail.“We expected at least 10 per cent of people to violate the rule, but violations were less than 1 per cent”, he said.

“No political party had the guts to implement the odd even policy. It was talked about for 20 years. The fact that people are talking about pollution is also a step forward,” Public Works Development Minister Satyendar Jain said.

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