The capital’s fourth car-free day, the first after the odd-even scheme, kicked off with a cycle rally between Vishwavidyalaya Metro station and Chhatrasal Stadium Friday. A fair number of cars, however, used the ‘car-free zone’, triggering accusations from the government that Delhi Police had not done its bit for the anti-pollution initiative.
Transport Minister Gopal Rai referred to a letter he received from Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander prior to the event. “It was on the request of the traffic police that we did not deploy any of our volunteers to see to it that car-free day was a success. The commissioner insisted the Delhi Traffic Police would be more than capable of ushering traffic away from this zone… this is not the case, as can be seen.”
Responding to the comment, Chander said, “Car-free day is a voluntary event and has been the previous three times. The event is merely an appeal from the government to the people, it is not mandatory. There is no reason for volunteers to be policing the road, that is the job of the traffic police, and we managed the traffic. If citizens don’t wish to participate, there is nothing that the police or volunteers can do to make them (do it).”
Responding to questions, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “People from the media ask me what is the use of observing a car-free day. My response is that the government is committed to adopting many measures to reduce vehicular pollution. This is not an event of the Delhi government or the Delhi Police, it is an event of the people of Delhi. I appeal to all the citizens of Delhi to continue to participate in this effort.”