Odd day success, Delhi hopes for smooth even; Kejriwal says people accepted scheme ‘with an open mind’

On January 1, only cars with registration numbers ending in odd digits were allowed on the capital’s roads, with the government declaring the opening day of the scheme as an overwhelming success.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:January 1, 2016 9:50 pm
odd even, odd even rule, delhi odd even, delhi odd even rule , kejriwal, arvind kejriwal, odd even delhi, odd even news, delhi odd even news, delhi news Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal carpools Transport Minister Gopal Rai and Health Minister Satyendra Jain to Delhi Secretariat as the trial odd-even scheme comes into effect in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI Photo)

AT 8 AM on the first day of the new year, Delhi flagged off its pioneering 15-day pilot odd-even plan to curb the record levels of pollution clogging its air by restricting the number of cars allowed to ply on its roads to the last digits of their registration plates.

On January 1, only cars with registration numbers ending in odd digits were allowed on the capital’s roads, with the government declaring the opening day of the scheme as an overwhelming success.

The “self-regulation” observed by private motorists appeared to have taken the Delhi administration by surprise, with PWD and Health Minister Satyendar Jain saying that less than 1 percent violations were reported on Friday.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who carpooled to work on Friday morning, said, “By and large, the people of Delhi have accepted the anti-pollution drive with an open mind. This can happen only when something becomes a people’s movement. I am truly overwhelmed by the response. The people of Delhi are terrific. They have achieved the impossible and I am hopeful that Delhi will scale greater heights in the days to come. Delhi will lead the way.”

Later in the day, Kejriwal tweeted, “John Lennon “You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only 1 I hope some day you’ll join us And the world will be as one” #IamWithOddEven.”

The Chief Minister carpooled to work, giving Transport Minister Gopal Rai and Jain a ride to the Delhi secretariat in his Innova numbered 0001.

The Delhi government claimed pollution levels had reduced across stations, but experts pointed out that the dip was only seen till the first half of the day in many stations. A combination of weather factors and emissions probably led to a spike in the second half, experts said.

“Maybe the drop in pollution level was little. But when two cars ply instead of four, however little it may be, there will be a drop,” said Rai.

Rai, who was responsible for augmenting public transport during the pilot phase, took a two-hour ride in a DTC bus, asking the driver to stop outside the BJP headquarters on Ashoka Road to check the number of the cars parked outside. “They were all odd numbers,” he said.

While the government did not hesitate to term Day One a “success”, it admitted that the holiday season may have been a contributor to the smooth sailing traffic and roomy Metros. The real test of the drive, the administration agreed, would be on January 4, the first working Monday of the year.

“This is not a political tussle. Those who have abided by it today, will tell others to follow on Monday,” said Rai.

Until 5 pm on Friday, the traffic police had issued 81 challans for odd-even violations while the Delhi government’s transport department officials had issued 36.

“Of the 4,500 buses we have, 4,120 buses were deployed. Of the 3,000 private buses registered, 1,221 turned up today,” Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) (PRO) R S Minhas said.

Some private schools moved court protesting against the circular issued by the Delhi government asking them to shift their winter break timings and provide their buses for commercial public use in the odd-even fortnight. “Most of the school buses did not turn up today,” Minhas said. However, there was low commuter traffic on buses across the city on Friday.

Over 200 challans were issued to autorickshaw drivers who refused fare or harassed passengers, Rai said.

The Delhi Metro, too, prepared to take in additional passenger load, the crowd was manageable with several offices being closed for the day. Passenger traffic remained thin during the first half of the day and grew later in the evening, particularly near tourist destinations like Qutab Minar, INA, Rajiv Chowk. Delhi Metro officials said the crowd is likely to pick up on weekdays.

The World Health Organization had last year named Delhi, with an estimated 7.5 million registered vehicles, as the world’s most polluted city.

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  1. U
    US NRI
    Jan 1, 2016 at 5:03 pm
    Great job people and govt of Delhi. Somewhere something needs to be done to curb pollution. Central govt was hoping this would fail... just like congress was hoping center should fail. Everybody is trying every other party to show they are failure. Its everywhere only difference in India and ROW is that here billion people suffer because of crab culture in our politicians that includes all parties including BJP AaP and the most brazen of all shameless congress supported by media jokers.
    Reply
    1. U
      US NRI
      Jan 1, 2016 at 9:34 pm
      We all need to back to school to write an essay-what will I do if I was a Delhi CM. Seems like all are opposing a move when kejriwal said it's only experiment for 15 days. We should comment only after 15 days.
      Reply
      1. A
        Atul Sharma
        Jan 1, 2016 at 7:06 pm
        It is just as eyewash. It can never work. Need to find out root-cause of pollution and work seriously on that. This even-odd has never ever worked in the history as well.
        Reply
        1. A
          Atul Sharma
          Jan 1, 2016 at 7:10 pm
          Sorry for we are not targeting the root-cause. It will never ever be a success. We need to sit down for months and do a root-cause analysis. Crying for DDCA scam all the time is another reason for the failure.
          Reply
          1. R
            rhambo
            Jan 1, 2016 at 6:26 pm
            Nice guy. He will fall in place and learn to obey rules. However, Indian courts will step in and encouage ofenders. Most of problems n India is because of incompetent judiciary
            Reply
            1. R
              Rishi
              Jan 1, 2016 at 4:56 pm
              If I was the cm I would have done another experiment : Would have stopped ALL vehicles in Delhi for 3 hours two times in the week. Say 12 noon to 3 pm. I mean all vehicles; taxi, cars, lorries. Bikes, auto etc. Taken pollution measurements in several.locations from 8 am to 6 pm. Analysed the dip between 12 noon and 3 pm. This would have given an empirical data to work pollution caused by vehicles. Repeated it again two days later to get a better correlation. You see the weather of one day cannot be compared with the next day as the fundamentals of wind, humidity, pressure, high alude air movements change. I personally feel it's not the cars but the bikes/ autos with two stroke engine are the culprits. That is why in Europe/usa two stroke engines are now banned except for specialised work like chainsaws etc.
              Reply
              1. K
                Kolsat
                Jan 1, 2016 at 11:05 pm
                Good to see that the CM setting a good example by obeying the odd-even rule. Well done.
                Reply
                1. D
                  Dipak
                  Jan 1, 2016 at 5:42 pm
                  How much this odd-even plan is going to help pollution control ? If one cannot take his car for the day, he may look for a taxi. So there will be more taxis on the road.
                  Reply
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