Three days after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s odd-even scheme was implemented in Delhi, it faced its real test on Monday, the first working day after the road rationing scheme was rolled out. Huge traffic snarls were witnessed at several places during the morning rush hour.
“Today is the litmus test for odd-even scheme. And just like our last time attempt to make it a success, we have to co-operate with each other,” Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai tweeted. The real test of the second phase starts today since this is the first working day after the scheme was re launched.
BJP MP Vijay Goel was fined Rs 2000, for violating the odd-even traffic limitation plan on Monday. The Rajya Sabha member had declared that he would violate the programme as a protest against the huge amount of money spend on billboards, radio and TV ads. He said there was hardly an ad which doesn’t “plaster Kejriwal’s photo”.
In the pilot phase of the road rationing programme, the stress was more on awareness and voluntary compliance. But in the second phase which began last Friday, the government has cracked the whip. Some 2,300 charge slips were handed to the violators in the first two days. The numbers were 479 during the same period in the pilot phase between 1 and 15 January.
Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra on Monday took a metro from Civil Lines station to attend a meeting.
A section of the city’s auto and taxi unions had threatened to go on strike. To the relief of the commuters, it was withdrawn following an assurance by the government that it will look into their grievances.
The Aam Aadmi Party alleged that the BJP was trying to foil the scheme by pushing the auto and taxi drivers to go on strike.
Under the fortnight-long scheme, private cars with odd registration numbers can ply only on odd dates and the even numbers on even dates. There were exemptions for VVIPs, women, school going children, medical emergencies, commercial vehicles and cars that run on natural gas.
In order to ensure the success of the scheme, the government has set a fine of Rs 2,000 for violators. It has also deployed 2,000 traffic personnel, 580 enforcement officials and over 5,000 civil defence volunteers to implement the scheme.
The tough measures were adopted by the Delhi government in a bid to clean up the air in the one of the most polluted cities in the world. It is estimated that over eight million vehicles ply on the capital’s roads.
Doctors say, the residents exposed to the rising pollution are at the risk of contracting respiratory illness and lung diseases.