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Odd and Even Delhi: When there's a will there's a way

by Priti Prakash | PUBLISHED: Apr 25, 2016, 6:38 am IST

Priti Prakash
Priti Prakash
Delhi government's road rationing scheme or better known as the Odd Even Formula can be said to have been generally well taken by the people. It started as a way out for increasing pollution in the first phase initially as the pollution levels had crossed harmful levels in the capital which was rather a fallout of many years of ceaseless indifference to environmental senstivity.

Air pollution has reached a level where it has taken hazardous dimensions in terms of the health and well being of the people of Delhi. Road rationing was one step towards bringing pollution under control. Delhi government brought out rules to be followed on road, spent full force to publicise it in the interest of common man, ensured its complaince through police, AAP's volunteers on road (with a flower), public awarness campaignes etc. Though with initial criticism the final outcome of the first phase was satisfying, leaving people happy at the experiment and bold initiative. Some risk taken by the govt in the shape of hard decision seems to have brought good results and positive observations. Of course many things added to its success like amicable weather, closed schools, willingness of compliance. Metro was the best option for daily commuters though DTC bus ride did not go well with many car goers specially the luxury car owners without an option of an even or odd numbered car. Irrespective of complaints by some perpetual complainers the first phase ended with a positive feedback. Congestion of roads was down and driving in Delhi for the first time was a pleasure of sorts. Driving time also reduced, and so was the stress.

As the second phase was announced people were still in doubts about the conditions that would be imposed which remained the same. Women, CNG, VIP exempted along with school children. People seemed to be more prepared this time. The reactions also slightly different. People have hooked on more on taxi services. OLA, Uber demands have risen. Alternate ways have been devised to avoid the unpopular bus services. Rent a car is another option that has been explored well by people. Therefore as much anticipated, crowd in the metro and buses has'nt increased this time around. With 50 percent drop in the number the cars on the road its way ahead a much smoother and enjoable ride across Delhi.

Bringing down pollution in Delhi being the main concern behind the odd even scheme it is to be kept in mind that reasons of pollution not just lie in vehicle emissions but the greater evil is something that needs to be tackled with a greater will power and stringent environmental laws. The major pollution spreading elements are construction sites and apparatus, ever increasing landfills, smoke emitting industries, burning forests and agricultural yield. Even if for once we concede that carbon spewing vehicles should be done away with or not be allowed to be on road it will not help containing pollution in the air. Their contribution may just be minimal. Its the industrial pollution whether in air or water or soil that should be strictly checked, the contractors of real estate should be made acountable for any kind of dust spreading in the air with the strictest of fines and punishment. Industrial units eminating smoke should be held responsible. The worst offender being the burners of hay or dry leaves or the agriculture remains should be brought to books.

The good intention and hard work coupled with decently forceful initiatives of Delhi government under the leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal which had all the possibility of a backfire needs a thumbs up for a brilliant example towards cleaning Delhi's air for its people. At least as an initiative it should be applauded. Other CM's could take a cue as well. Only if we could see the city's transport improving, people would be more than happy to shed off the stress of driving for kilometres. The success of developed countries lies in their capacity to give cleaner air, a robust transport system, better security, better health services and unadulterated food, education, sanitation, employment and social security. We have proved we can do it with right laws, honest implementation and above all a will. The formula could soon be followed by other metros if it hits the nail.         

Priti Prakash
Priti Prakash

Political Commentator, Interviewer, moderator and Foreign Correspondent. With more than 15 years in journalism and experience of both print and electronic medium, she is Editor FacenFacts, news website and Managing Director, Dream Press Consultants Ltd