NEW DELHI: The Odd-even scheme is set to make a comeback on April 15 after school examinations end in the national capital. The scheme will last for 16 days, ending on April 30. Unlike in the first phase, schools will remain open during the second phase of the scheme, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.
While the government is planning to review the penalty for violations, all the 26 exemptions announced during the first phase will remain in place, the Chief Minister said.
The AAP government is also planning to hire 500 retired defence personnel to enforce the scheme as the pressing into service of Sub-Divisional Magistrates during the first phase of the scheme led to a slowdown of work at their offices.
The government claimed that it had arrived at the decision after “extensive feedback” from the public was gathered over email, Interactive Voice Response, its website and mohalla sabhas. According to its survey, a vast majority of the people wanted the scheme to be implemented as soon as February 14, the day AAP completes a year in power. However, the government decided to implement the scheme in April after the Board examinations.
“The first edition of odd-even from January 1 to 15 was successful because we had held consultations with public and informed them about the scheme before implementing it… The scheme was successful in bringing down traffic congestion and pollution levels. Since then, there was a demand to bring the scheme back. But before implementing it again, we wanted to gather the views of the public,” explained Kejriwal. While there was a consensus that the scheme had succeeded in addressing traffic congestion, reports on its impact on pollution levels were varied. Many experts as well as pollution measuring agencies maintained that there was no significant drop in pollution levels.
Kejriwal said a majority of people wanted the scheme to be made permanent, but said, “We cannot make the scheme permanent until we improve the public transport system. To do that, we first need more buses and all categories of buses, including luxury buses, so that people who leave cars feel comfortable to travel in a bus. We expect to bring 1,000 new buses on the roads by May, another 1,000 by August and 1,000 by the end of this year.”He added the government was planning to build two-level, elevated BRTs where buses would run on one level and other vehicles on the other.