Fewer private cars were seen on Delhi roads on Friday as the second phase of the odd-even scheme was rolled out. Thousands of policemen and civil defence volunteers were deployed at various areas of the city to enforce the odd-even rule. The scheme will run for 15 days, till 30 April. However, the actual impact of phase two can be assessed only on Monday as offices and schools will open after a long weekend.
"Odd even starts today. Let's all join hands and resolve to make it a success," Kejriwal had tweeted in the morning.
Odd even starts today. Lets all join hands and resolve to make it a success.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 15, 2016
The Delhi government, which has projected the second phase of the road-rationing policy as the "decisive" one, said that 2,000 traffic personnel, 580 enforcement officials and over 5,000 civil defence volunteers have been deployed for smooth implementation of the scheme.
Violators were fined Rs 2,000, as per the relevant section of the Motor Vehicles Act. The scheme, however, will not be implemented on Sunday. Under the scheme, odd-numbered cars are allowed to run on odd dates while even-numbered cars are allowed on even dates.
Akshaya Mishra from Firstpost reported that there was not much resistance this time from the people of Delhi. While round one faced a lot of opposition, however, for the second phase, the protests were certainly less.
The roads were less congested as Friday was a holiday due to Ram Navami. The first phase of the policy, that was in force between 1 and 15 January, did not have its intended affect as it could not lower pollution "as much as expected," but it significantly helped reduce traffic congestion in the city, Kejriwal had said.
Gauri Das Chakrovarty, who works in Noida and has an even number car, told Firstpost that the scheme will not make a difference in the pollution levels as evident from the January experiment. "This is just harassment. I do not think much will change. My experience of last time tells me that it neither can improve traffic nor air quality," Chakrovarty.
As the day progressed, traffic police, civil defence volunteers started pulling up violators of the odd-even rule and imposed a fine of Rs 2,000.
The Delhi government formed 120 teams comprising officials of the transport department to punish errant motorists. The traffic police had identified 200 intersections across the city where their personnel were deployed in teams.
The highest number of challans were reported from south Delhi, closely followed by the western part of the city, with 129 and 108 challans respectively issued till 1 pm today, a senior official said.
As many as 511 motorists were challaned between 8 am and 1 pm, the official said. Delhi Traffic Police has strategically chosen over 200 intersections in the city where 2,000 officials have been deployed in teams of three to 10 depending upon the volume of traffic there.
Also, a 20-member Special Task Force was set up to look into matters reported by the mobile teams.
Over 500 persons were challaned by Delhi Traffic Police for violating the odd-even norms in the first five hours of the second phase of the road-rationing formula implemented in the national capital today.
Roshni Sethi, Delhi Civil Defence personnel at Nehru Place told Firstpost: "The violators are giving flimsy excuses like they were unaware of the odd-even drive. Moreover, they are arguing to avoid paying fine. People are even saying that they took out their even numbered cars as they are moving within the local vicinity. Our job is to create awareness among people on the road and assist traffic police in enforcing the law."
Rajesh Kalra, a trader at Lajpat Nagar, was found arguing with traffic cops. Despite Delhi Civil Defence members trying make him understand his mistake, he told Firstpost, "I was not going on the main road but just took a turn from the traffic signal to get inside Lajpat Nagar market from where I operate. I had been trying to convince police but they refused to listen to my plea. It's very difficult to move in the local area without vehicle especially for traders like us."
Many commuters had a tough time getting autorickshaws. A commuter who was planning to visit in relatives along with his family, told Firstpost: "Despite putting 'On Duty' board, 15 autorickshaw drivers refused to take us. Moreover, they they are acting pricey. Everyday, I pay Rs 30 from my house to the Metro station. But today, they asked for Rs 50 to 60. Odd-even drive is good, but the Delhi government must ensure proper functioning of autos."
Despite the number of defaulters, many of the Delhi residents gave the scheme a thumbs up and insisted that it should be implemented permanently for 15 days every month.
"We want the scheme to be made permanent. We only know what we have to face while managing the traffic during office hours," a traffic cop posted at Pragati Maidan told Firstpost.
Kejriwal has also stated that his government is seriously considering to enforce the measure for 15 days every month. Sources told PTI that any decision in this regard will be taken after analysing impact of the second phase of the odd-even scheme in reducing pollution.
The only change in the blueprint of the policy's implementation from its first phase is the exemption given to cars carrying children in school uniform apart from those being driven by women, VIPs except Ministers in the AAP government and CNG vehicles with mandatory stickers.
The government has conceded that it has not been able to find a solution to the problem of cars going to pick up children after school hours during the scheme. Kejriwal has suggested car pooling to parents to avoid problems.
With inputs from PTI