NEW DELHI: The national capital is all set to take its first major step to curb pollution levels with its ‘odd-even’ vehicle rationing policy. The formula will come into force from Friday morning at 8 am.
Pollution levels in Delhi as per some studies is among the worst in world’s leading cities is expected to be lowered as lakhs of vehicles are expected to stay off roads for next 15 days. With the critics questioning the practicality of the scheme and the exemptions looking at the sorry state of public transport, all eyes will be as how to scheme rolls out.
The Home Ministry, which is often seen in conflict with the AAP government on administrative issues, has asked all its officials to adopt car pooling to make the odd-even formula proposed by the city government successful.
Thousands of civil defence volunteers will be deployed to assist the Traffic Police, enforcement teams of Delhi government's transport department and authorized sub-divisional magistrates, to implement the scheme which will kick in at 8 AM tomorrow.
Under the scheme, private cars having odd registration numbers will be allowed to ply on odd dates and those with even numbers on even dates. If, anyone found violating the scheme will have to bear a Rs 2,000 penalty, according to the police.
Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander said traffic officials will anyway be present till 3 AM to check on flouting of traffic rules during year-end revelry.
The Delhi government, with the help of Traffic Police, on Thursday conducted a rehearsal ahead of the roll out of the scheme and hundreds of civil defense volunteers were seen assisting police teams in several parts of the city.
Earlier Delhi police Commissioner B. S. Bassi discussed a number of issues, mostly surrounding the exemptions with Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai.
While they agreed on implementing the scheme as decided on December 24, Rai accepted Bassi's suggestion to slap offenders violating the provisions a fine of Rs 2000 during the day.
In the same meeting, Rai also assured Bassi of providing 5,000 - 6,000 civil defense, NSS and NSC volunteers to assist in the implementation of the scheme.
Kejriwal has, however, warned volunteers against "arguing or misbehaving" with people and to focus on "changing hearts" through polite moves like offering flowers to violators.
"You will have to change the hearts of people. You don't have to issue challan or argue or misbehave with anyone. You will hold placards at red lights and, on spotting a violator, you will give him a flower and urge him to go back home," Kejriwal said briefing hundreds of volunteers comprising Civil Defence men, NCC and NSS cadets at Chhatrasal stadium earlier.
Criticizing the odd-even formula, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi "This exercise is a faulted exercise. It is bound to fail. They are looking for an escape route and there is nothing better than putting the onus on the central government... If you really want to deal with pollution there are better ways to deal with it. There are preparing ground to blame the Centre for their failure. Right intentions and motivations do not exist. They are constantly trying to harm the cause of governance".
The backbone of the city Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) will operate with 7,500 bus fleet to provide transport to the public. The DTC already has 4,500 busses and has added 3,000 more keeping in mind the extra rush, this include school bus and carriage way bus.