As the first day of 2016 dawned bright and clear, Delhi took its fight against emission to the streets, armed with an ambitious odd-even scheme of road rationing that will restrict movement of private vehicles on the roads of the national capital for 15 days.
The plan kicked in at 8 AM of January 1, incidentally an 'odd' day, with civil defence volunteers deployed on the road to assist the Traffic Police, enforcement teams of Delhi government's transport department and authorised sub-divisional magistrates.
Under the scheme, private cars with odd registration numbers will be allowed to ply on odd dates and those with even numbers on even dates. Those violating the rule will be fined Rs 2,000.
Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander told PTI traffic officials will be present till 3 AM to check flouting of traffic rules during year-end revelry. The Delhi government, with the help of Traffic Police, yesterday conducted a rehearsal ahead of the scheme. Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai had suggested that a fine of Rs 2000 be imposed for repeat violations.
Despite assurance from the government, apprehensions remained among the citizens on alternative ways to commute.
"I support the initiative but without adequate public transport, I fear, there is chaos ahead," Greater Kailash resident Virender Sharma told the Times of India. Surge pricing for taxis, unreliability of auto-rickshaws, and unfamiliarity with car-pooling may pose as roadblocks for thousands of commuters who will be forced to leave their cars at home on odd and even days based on the registration plates.
Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has decided to lead by example. He and his cabinet colleagues will carpool to work and use public transport for 15 days of the trial. Kejriwal will share his car with transport minister Gopal Rai and PWD minister Satyendar Jain while environment minister Imran Hussain and social welfare minister Sandeep Kumar will take an auto and a bus, respectively, to Delhi secretariat. Kejriwal, Jain and Kumar live in North Delhi's Civil Line area.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia will go to work in an odd-numbered car. Tourism minister Kapil Mishra will ride a bike to office.
As many as 3,000 additional buses will ply during these 15 days and 200 teams of Delhi traffic Police, 66 enforcement teams of transport department and 40 teams of sub-divisional magistrates will be deployed to enforce the plan. The government has issued two helplines - 011-42400400 and 011-41400400 - for people to register their complaints and suggestion in connection with the scheme.
Images posted by ANI showed traffic cops writing out fines for those with even numbered cars plying today.
Here's how Twitter's helping.
On its blog, it posted this message: "Starting today, they (Delhi residents) can also use Twitter to access real-time information about public transport to plan their travel routes. As the odd-even car-driving scheme starts on 1 January 2016, the public’s reliance on public transportation will increase, so Twitter is working with the Delhi government to ensure that citizens have the live information they need to travel more conveniently and safely throughout the city every day."
How to use Twitter to navigate Delhi:
Tweet your origin and destination to @TransportDelhi and you’ll get real-time information on shortest routes, options of public transport available between these two points, fare details, traffic situation, and current weather conditions. If you want to keep your location & travel details private you can send a Direct Message to @TransportDelhi and receive the information privately.
#PollutionFreeDelhi origin to destination
(With PTI inputs)
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