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January 1, 2016
Delhi's 'odd-even trial' runs! No stopping Kejriwal!
NEW DELHI: The mist of nervousness and gloom gave way to a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction for the Delhi Government as the New Year day progressed with the trial run of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's pet odd-even model to keep pollution within healthy bounds for the Capital's teeming population. The roads appeared less congested and the traffic had a smooth flow at most places in the city.

A beaming Kejriwal said as the run picked up, "I am truly overwhelmed by the response. People have achieved the impossible. I am sure Delhi will show the way."

The 15-day trial of the novel odd-even scheme of halving the traffic on the Capital's roads to check the alarming rise in air pollution that is posing a major threat to the people's health started as the clock ticked 8 in the morning on Friday. It lasts till 8 pm every day.

Under the scheme, petrol and diesel vehicles with the registration numbers ending in odd digit will run on odd dates in the trial period from January 1 to 15. Launching of the odd-even scheme permanently will depend on the success of the trial. The curbs are for all petrol and diesel vehicles, including taxis.

Ambulances, police vehicles, fire engines, prison and hearse vans, two-wheelers, VVIP cars and vehicles run on CNG have been exempted from the order. CNG vehicles must have a hologram fixed on from the gas filling station. Cars driven by women and having women occupants only except a male companion below 12 years also are exempted. Medical emergency vehicles are allowed on a trust basis, no verification, as also those driven by the disabled. Also exempt are vehicles with Ministry of Defence number plates, vehicles with a pilot/escort, vehicles of SPG protectees, embassy vehicles with CD numbers.

The Government has hired around 3,000 private buses to ease the additional pressure on the public transport system. The schools in the city have been ordered shut for the trial period lasting till 15 January and their buses too have been deployed. The Government has also made arrangements for additional metro rides to cope the expected rush. There are 4,500 DTC buses and 82,000 autos for run all days. There are about 35 lakh bus passengers a day and another 25 lakh travel by the Metro trains.

Traffic policemen and several thousands of volunteers were checking the cars on Delhi roads. Violators of the odd-even rule were being fined rs 2,000 each and stopped from moving further.

"The biggest challenge is to make the people realise that this fight against pollution is for them, for their health, for their own good," Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai told a newsmen.

Since there is no adequate public transport facilities in Delhi, the odd-even trial had faced some opposition from various quarters although environmentalists have welcomed the decision.

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