A lot has happened in the year 2015 and starting from January 1, the AAP government's infamous new odd-even rule will be implemented on Delhi's roads. There's no doubt that the levels of air pollution in Delhi pose a serious danger to citizens and desperate times have led to desperate measures. As I see it, there are two benefits in implementing the odd-even rule.
First, the roads will be less chaotic with fewer cars plying and, two, there'll be some change in the level of air pollution, though it's difficult to say how significant this will be.
But here's the problem: this decision has been taken in haste.
The Arvind Kejriwal government didn't think seriously of the consequences the odd-even formula would have on people's lives. The so-called common man will end up suffering. They have decided to add more than a thousand buses to the roads in the next three months, but what will happen before that? What if the promise is not fulfilled? What will happen to the people who have a single vehicle at home and need to get to work?
Curbing pollution is the topmost priority for the government, as it should be, but there should be mechanisms for providing awareness among citizens as well.
While citizens need to cooperate with the government to tackle air pollution, this particular move is riddled with loopholes. The Delhi Government seriously needs to recheck every point and most importantly, build infrastructure which would help us as well as the government to stick to their decision for a long time. The citizens are sceptical about how well the current "solution" will work.
Certain categories like those who are sick, disabled, and those who are travelling late in night (which in turn leads to a change in date post midnight) and even women are exempted from the rule. This is likely to create a lot of resentment. Besides, this rule, effective from 1 January, will be reviewed after 10-15 days -- if citizens face major problems, it will be retired. Does this look like a well-planned decision? I think not. We could accomplish so much more if we and the government thought through decisions carefully and made plans to ensure their success.
Humans have had been selfish, especially vis-à-vis the environment. Our hunger for money and comfort has resulted in irreversible damage to nature. If we don't change soon, we may not even have a planet to call our own.