On Day 1, AAP govt. claims odd-even scheme a success
The first day of the odd-even scheme in the capital on Friday was declared more successful than expected by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, though the initial readings of the air quality levels did not support the claim.
One of the most tangible outcomes, according to the traffic police, was the absence of congestion and gridlocks witnessed across the capital’s arterial stretches on weekdays.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tipped his hat to Delhiites within just three hours of the experiment officially being rolled out on the ground.
“This experiment will go on till January 15 after which we will stop it and reassess the need for it based on the results. Nowhere in the world is this scheme enforced permanently because doing so is practically impossible. Whenever pollution levels spike, this is used as a weapon to combat it,” Mr. Kejriwal said.
Apart from acknowledging that the seeming success was related to factors such as several Delhiites being away on vacation, many private offices being closed on the first day of the new year and the fact that city schools were closed for winter break, the government accepted that Monday would be the actual litmus test.
Both the government and the traffic police seemed to be more in favour of generating awareness of the core objectives of the scheme, instead of presiding over relentless prosecution of violators on the first day of the experiment.
As a result, the number of fines remained at a measly 145, thus making these directly proportional to the visibly lower volume of the traffic overall.
While crediting the Delhi residents for better compliance reflected in the numbers, senior Delhi Police officers admitted that the focus was more on creating awareness and such instructions were passed on to the personnel on the field.
The enforcement teams were seen acting as per the instruction, allowing some of the even-numbered cars to go with a simple warning and educating them on the initiative.
Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi and his Special Commissioner (Traffic) Muktesh Chander said they were happy with the response from Delhiites.
This is the most significant policy decision to be formulated by any government in the country since the large-scale conversion of State government-run public transport to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in 2002 on the order of the Supreme Court.
Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai took to Twitter to express gratitude to all residents. “Many thanks to the Delhiites who embraced the Odd Even concept to make Delhi pollution-free this New Year…Thankful to Delhi Police, Transport Department, Civil Defence and the media for making Odd Even a success.”