Delhi residents say odd-even scheme fine, but need better transport

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) Public sentiment on Thursday was by and large positive on re-implementation of the odd-even scheme for traffic restriction from April 15, though residents felt that better public transport and fewer exemptions were needed to curb pollution in Delhi.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced re-enforcement of the odd-even scheme between April 15-30.

The scheme was first implemented on a trial basis for a fortnight from January 1, during which vehicles with odd registration numbers were required to run on odd dates and the even numbered vehicles on even dates.

Two-wheelers and vehicles running on compressed natural gas, ambulances and several other categories were exempt from the scheme.

Residents of Delhi IANS spoke to said the scheme will help in smoother flow of traffic on roads.

Businessman Kapil Mehra from Punjabi Bagh said the scheme made a big impact the first time it was implemented.

“It was very easy to drive as there was very less traffic on Delhi roads. But for better results in terms of curbing pollution, there should be fewer exemptions under the scheme. The government should also look at including two-wheelers in the scheme,” Mehra said.

Vehicular pollution is a significant contributor to pollution in the national capital, he added. “The scheme will also help change travelling habits of people and encourage them to use public transport,” Mehra said.

Shoaib Alam from Nizamuddin said he was reconciled to the scheme’s implementation on a regular basis if it made a big change to pollution levels.

“It does cause inconvenience but I take it in my stride since it is in public good. Efforts should be made to improve public transport. What people are looking for is easy connectivity to their destinations from bus stops and Metro stations,” Alam told IANS.

Manisha, an employee at a private firm in Lajpat Nagar who commutes by Metro rail, said there were apprehensions about overcrowding in Metro during the implementation of the odd-even scheme in January but she did not have to look for other options.

“Travelling by Metro was not very difficult during the odd-even scheme in January. But if the frequency of trains increases, it will definitely help,” she said.

Manisha said steps such as odd-even scheme were important for safeguarding the health of people and of the future generations.

According to reports citing data of Central Pollution Control Board on air pollution, Delhi stood sixth in terms of air pollution in January, with cities like Muzaffarpur in Bihar and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh showing worse air quality.

A study by World Health Organisation (WHO), based on monitoring in almost 1,600 cities in different countries, said that in 2014 Delhi had the highest concentration of PM2.5 — particulate matters less than 2.5 microns.

The Delhi government on Thursday said steps were being taken to improve public transport. It said Delhi will get 1,000 new buses by May, another 1,000 by August and yet another 1,000 by the end of the year.

During the first phase of implementation of the odd-even scheme, 3,000 more buses were deployed and frequency of Metro trains was increased.

Banker Yatin Arora, who initially said no to the odd-even scheme, said the result of the first trial changed his mind.

“I was unhappy when the scheme was launched. But I realised within two days that the odd-even scheme was actually a good step to curb both pollution and traffic congestion,” Arora said.

“I really look forward to the second phase of the scheme,” he added.

But there are people not totally convinced about the scheme’s desirability.

Mahesh Prasad from Mayur Vihar said the Delhi government had adopted an easy way out and should take measures to check vehicular emission.

“There are so many vehicles which emit toxic fumes and this goes unchecked. The onus of implementing the odd-even scheme is on the people. Why can’t the government show more initiative,” he asked.

Prasad said the first step should have been to see that emissions from vehicles are as per the norms.

“The second step should have been the augmentation of the public transport,” he said.

Business management student Ronit Sharma said there should be no exemptions for VIPs and ministers.

“Why cannot a minister car-pool? If common people are going through inconvenience, our ministers and diplomats must also join in,” he added.

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