[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]Delhiites rung in the New Year with a pledge to take on the menace of alarming air pollution as they threw their weight behind the odd-even vehicular restriction scheme of the Delhi government. Though thousands of policemen and Aam Admi Party volunteers were pressed into service to ensure the success of the scheme, there were few examples of `even’ number plate cars plying on the road on the day allotted for `odd’ numbers.
The city road was half as crowded as on normal days, and few people complained of lack of auto rickshaws and buses. However, the real test of the scheme will come on Monday when the offices will open after the New Year weekend. Two-wheelers are included in the list of 25 categories that have been kept out of the ambit of the scheme.
Fear that auto rickshaws will exploit the situation by fleecing the passengers was unfounded. With AAP volunteers, enforcement teams of Delhi government’s transport department, authorized sub-divisional magistrates, and the police omnipresent on the roads, the commuters had little difficulty in finding public transport or auto to reach their destination.
The pilot plan will remain in force in the national capital till January 15 after which the state government will decided whether to extend it or not. Those violating the restriction imposed under the odd-even schemes will be fined Rs. 2,000($30).
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he city has been in the grip of alarming levels of air pollution. On Friday when the scheme kicked off, a display board installed in front of Delhi Secretariat showed that the real-time figures of suspended particulate matter PM 2.5 and PM 10 were at 360 and 480 micrograms per cubic metre, respectively, at 9.30 a.m.. This is several times above the safe limits, which is 60 and 100 micrograms for the two. A PM 2.5 level of 250 mark is considered hazardous for health..
Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra arrived at the Secretariat on a scooter and tweeted, “Wow Delhi, Thank you for making #OddEvenFormula a success…just reached office on bike.. no traffic.. Delhi is following it voluntarily.”
The rest of the Cabinet, including Chief Minister Kejriwal, will carpool to work and use public transport. Kejriwal will share his car with Transport Minister Gopal Rai and PWD Minister Satyendar Jain while Environment Minister Imran Hussain and Social Welfare Minister Sandeep Kumar will take an auto and a bus, respectively, to reach Delhi Secretariat.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he Delhi government has deployed 3,000 extra buses to ply in the city to facilitate movement and Delhi Metro is running 70 extra trips across all its corridors for the period during which the restrictions will be in place.
With people giving a thumbs up to the scheme, Kejriwal said he was “overwhelmed” by the response of people towards the odd-even scheme here. “I am truly overwhelmed by the response we have received so far. There are very less even-numbered cars on the roads. The plan seems to have been successful,” he told media.
He said the people of Delhi accepted the scheme “whole-heartedly”, adding “I am confident that in next five years people will show the way to the rest of the country”.
“Delhi has done it! Reports so far very encouraging. Delhiites! You give me hope that you are capable of achieving big challenges,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]”I[/dropcap] am pooling my car and going to office with two ministers, my personal secretary and my joint secretary,” he said.
Mooted by the Delhi government, the odd-even scheme that allows odd and even-numbered private vehicles on the city roads on alternate days aims at reducing air pollution levels in the national capital.
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 66.16 Rupees.
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