Stocked with juice and lemonade, Transport Minister Gopal Rai took a ride on an air-conditioned DTC bus to inspect the roads on the first day of phase II of the odd-even vehicle-rationing scheme Friday.
When asked about the challenges in enforcing the scheme this time, Rai said, “The heat and rains are going to be a challenge. The first phase of odd-even took place in winter. This time ,staff and civil defence volunteers will have to bear the summer heat. But we have faith that they will continue doing their duty despite these factors,” said the minister.
Rai got down at India Gate to meet some civil defence volunteers. While he managed to say a few words of appreciation to them, tourists at India Gate gathered around him for a ‘selfie’. He obliged.
Rai also appealed to Delhiites to leave early to drop their children to school so that they are not caught for violations on the way back. On how parents will pick up their children from school, he said “Women are exempted from odd-even. It is their time to assume responsibility. Eighty-five per cent students are picked up by their mothers. Some parents send their drivers to pick up children. But the driver will not be able to take out the car if it’s an even day and the car is odd-numbered. So, women should ask the school administration if there are other students who live in their vicinity and drop them home,” said Rai.
On whether the scheme has become more about solving traffic congestion than pollution, Rai said the two were “inter-linked” and both will come down during the scheme. He added that air quality monitoring machines, which do not show any reduction in pollution levels, should be checked for technical snags.
“If 100 cars are stopping at a signal for an hour rather than two hours, which is the case when odd-even is not in place, don’t you think it has reduced fuel-burning by one hour? This will lower pollution levels. Moreover, it is an ongoing effort. We have to maintain the system. The air quality will gradually improve due to sustained efforts,” he said.