Over the past one year the Delhi Government did nothing to improve public transport or reduce the increasing pollution in the city. Then just before the new year, they woke up and gave its citizens a wonderful gift to combat the rising pollution levels. It chose first to crack down on the high amount of automobile emission due to private cars. It introduced the odd-even scheme, by which it allowed only the odd number private cars to ply on days with odd numbers and even number vehicles to ply on days having even numbers. The main aim of government to start this scheme is to contain cars on road and hence to curb the choking levels of pollution in the national capital. The Delhi Government also urged people to go for car-pooling and use public transport.
A lot of flak was however received by the Government, because they did nothing to improve public transport, but smartly shifted the onus of reducing pollution on the car owners. The badly managed loss making DTC carries lesser passengers by bus than it carried 10 years ago when the killer blue lines plied on Delhi roads. The blue lines disappeared but the low body busses that replaced them carried half the number of passengers. The Government simply failed to discharge its responsibility towards bus transport especially after Metro arrived in the capital city.
When the courts rapped the Delhi Government for doing nothing to reduce pollution they where pushed into introducing the odd even scheme. The odd-even scheme reduced car car traffic by nearly 40 % as expected. No doubt the odd-even scheme has been a success because of people’s co-operation and the governments determination to follow the formula. "Cooperation of all the agencies including Delhi traffic police, transport department and civil defense volunteers had also been a major factor in its success,” says state Transport Minister Gopal Rai.
Woman's Era asked a few people on this whether the odd- even scheme should be continued or not.
“ I was very ticked off when they released this scheme since I travel everyday from Gurgaon with a driver. There is too much conflicting data on pollution reduction but everyone agrees that there was a decrease in traffic congestion. On days I couldn’t use my car, I would get a cab, which obviously didn’t help the environment, but I preferred to spend on a cab instead of risking my life at Rajeev Chowk Metro Station.”, said Priyanka Kalra. “I do not want this scheme to continue because vehicular pollution does not add as much to the overall pollution as much as other factors, like factories and commercial vehicles using the Delhi highways to transport good to other state does. The government should first look into these matters before causing inconvenience to the citizens. Strengthening our public transport will help too. Haphazard decisions won’t help.” she further said.
Trusha Patel who is working in Gurgaon and living in Delhi says, "the odd even scheme should continue but our government should improve the Metro frequency . Delhi has a very poor bus service and as a result overcrowding on Metros was severe".
Bhuvan Rohatgi, an engineer by profession says, “I want the Odd-Even Rule to continue further and let the city breathe-in good quality air. I am not sure exactly how much pollution level has reduced so far but certainly there is tremendous decline in traffic on roads. This will hopefully impact the pollution, especially if 1 lakh plus cars stay off the road. Even if we have to get into Metro or buses, we will eventually reach our offices sooner, compared to personal cars. We surely will have to bear some pain for some larger gain.”
Divya Bharti says, “There is tremendous interest in the new experiment that Delhi government is running on the roads of the national capital. I complement the efforts at curbing the number of cars,. The underlying assumption for conducting this experiment is that this is fundamentally a “behavioral” problem and if we can be responsible we can improve the air quality of the city and the health of our children. Ordinary people in Delhi are holding their breath (pun intended) to see what will happen after the 15 days of experimentation. Within the government establishment, there is an urgency to announce the grand success of this Odd-Even policy" .
Ashima Chawla, working in PR company says, " Today is the end of the Odd-Even Campaign. From tomorrow everybody will suffer from the same traffic and people will use cars everyday and not think about the nation. Odd-Even campaign was a good step for the nation as well as for people. This improved community interaction as people started going with neighbors and colleagues to office in car pools."
Himani Chauhan, says, “Today is the last day of even and odd system. I can’t say about other people, but for me it’s a 15 days of great experience. I can see the beautiful Delhi without traffic jams. I feel very joyful when I am driving my car on the odd day. I think it should continue."
Well! Whatever be the outcome of this, one thing is extremely good, - that is people of Delhi have large heartedly accepted the odd-even scheme.