At 8 am, 14 civil defence personnel arrived at Ashram Chowk — one of the busiest intersections in the city — carrying placards, pamphlets and roses. The team had undergone 25-days’ training and were led by a warden.
As there were not many vehicles in the morning, they discussed their plan of action. They then split into groups of three and kept vigil at the four roads that met at Ashram Chowk. Wearing half-florescent jacket with the district’s name inscribed on them, the volunteers dived into their work. While some kept a lookout for cars bearing even numberplates, others carried placards.
Swaran Singh, the warden, said, “They have been asked to display the placards to drivers and give them the pamphlets and roses,” said Singh.
While volunteers said they conducted the exercises successfully, a majority were concerned that they weren’t given a pollution mask to wear.
“It is difficult to move around without mask. We need it else we will fall ill,” said Rohit, a volunteer.
Rohit was accompanied by Lokesh and Mohit, who carried a bunch of pamphlets. “We were asked to give the pamphlets only to those who have been stopped by traffic police or caught for violating the rule,” said Lokesh.
“I felt like an officer when I stopped a car with an even numberplate. The driver got scared seeing me. I asked him to open the window and pointed at his numberplate. He then said his car was a CNG vehicle,” said Neelam, another volunteer.
The volunteers had to undergo a proper seven-hour module-by-module training each day. Vinod Kumar, Division Warden of Sagarpur, said his division alone has close to 540 volunteers spread across Janakpuri, Palam and Mahipalpur.
“As part of the training, the volunteers were first taught why Delhi needs the odd-even policy. They were also trained on how to behave with violators. It is not just about giving flowers to violators, but to make them realise their mistake,” said Kumar. He added that the training was done under the guidance of sub-divisional magistrates.
Volunteers were also posted on “private” buses — roped in to augment the DTC fleet — as “mahila suraksha officers”. One such volunteer on the Mudrika Service said they have been directed to work 12 hour shifts for these 15 days instead of the regular eight hour shifts.