With dozens of central government offices (CGO) in the vicinity, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Metro station saw frantic activity between 9 and 10 am as officers used the Metro and public transport to reach the CGO complex. In contrast, at 10 am, the usual traffic snarl outside the complex was missing as very few people brought their cars.
Many government officials at the complex faithfully followed the odd-even policy, with only about one in 10 cars parked around Scope Bhawan bearing an even number. Many commuted to work via auto-rickshaws, taxis and chartered buses. Some said “advisories” had been issued by their offices stating that even-numbered cars will not be allowed in parking lots.
Sunita Kanwar, who works at the Cabinet Secretariat, said she usually brings her car or has her husband drop her to office. On Friday, she said she took an auto, “It’s a good policy. It’s not that difficult to come here by auto as I live nearby,” she said.
Home ministry employee R K Choudhary took an auto to work instead of a car and said he plans to use public transport on the days he cannot drive his even-numbered car. “There was no hassle about overcharging nor was there any traffic. Let’s see if this continues once offices open up from Monday,” he said.
Those who commuted by Metro said the usual morning rush was missing since it was the new year. Chandrima, an Indian Oil employee, said many offices in Scope building had holidays or a restricted holiday.
Murlidharan who travels from Dilshad Garden to CGO, and changes trains twice, says the crowd was “much less than usual” on all three lines.
In direct contrast, the government and bureaucratic circles at the Central Secretariat did not seem to care enough about the policy. A number of even-numbered cars with “Government of India” stickers were seen in the parking lots outside Rail Bhavan and Shastri Bhavan. There was no traffic police barricade to stop the movement of cars. One of the drivers, said, “We came here by 9 am and my boss will only come out after 6 pm.”
From Central Secretariat to India Gate via Rafi Marg, no cars were stopped by any traffic police or civil defence personnel. When asked about this, a traffic policeman at India Gate said, “Who would want to question government officials”.