New Delhi: The dead do not speak. They don’t react. For them Odd-Even formula of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal doesn’t exist, because they don’t exist. But, what about the family members, relatives and friends of those who die?
Can all have designated sets of cars on a particular odd or even numbered day to visit a crematorium or graveyard to attend a funeral?
What will they do in this kind of an emergency? Will the government allow them to go ahead on the basis of what they tell to the traffic cop? What about the proof?
It was 2.30 pm on New Year on Friday, when this Firstpost correspondent along with the photographer visited one of the Delhi’s crematoriums at Lodi Road to find answers to such questions.
“We have come by an auto as I was told by others that we won’t be able to use our car today as it bears an even number 6 (as the last digit). Though it was little difficult for us to get two auto-rickshaws to come to this crematorium today, we didn’t want to take any risk by violating the rule on the very first day. But, will the police allow people using wrong-numbered cars on such occasions?” questioned Preeti Sethi, a distressed middle-aged woman, while speaking to Firstpost.
She just got down from an auto-rickshaw accompanied by another relative of hers.
Both Kejriwal and his transport minister have said that commuters using a wrong numbered car in an emergency (like medical emergency etc.) would be let-off on the basis of trust.
While the citizens have been found appreciating the Odd-Even formula of Delhi government to curb the deadly pollution in Delhi, also have a doubt. Will the police believe their statement?
“Sahab yeh to aapsi vishwas par hona chahiye; manavikta ka sawal hai. (Sir, it’s a matter of mutual trust for the police to accept; it’s a question humanitarian values),” promptly said another person waiting at the gate of Lodhi crematorium.
Trust factor will play an important role in such kind of exigencies or emergency situations, where it won’t be possible for the commuter to furnish an immediate proof for violating the rule.
“Today we challaned only one person at ITO, who had violated the rule. It was symbolic to give a message that no one should break the law. But, overall the citizens have cooperated with this drive and it has been a successful day. We can see how smooth the traffic functioned today even at the peak hours. However, the police won’t challan anyone in an emergency-like situation. Police will trust the commuter,” divisional warden, Delhi Police, Mohd Shahid told Firstpost, who had been on-duty since 7 am at ITO.
Fine tuning at government’s end
While there is a strong voice supporting the anti-pollution drive, the Delhi-ites simultaneously feel a need for fine tuning of the formula—making it more convenient and pro-people, without violating the law.
The government has advised for car-pooling, but it’s not practical in emergencies due to obvious reasons.
Noted Delhi-based theater personality, MK Raina told Firstpost, “Everybody in Delhi has to come forward voluntarily for the cause to save themselves and their children from the effect of this deadly pollution. It's not just the government's job; it's the responsibility of every individual in Delhi to keep Delhi's air clean. It may be a little difficult in the beginning to follow this Odd-Even formula, but with certain improvements and corrections over the time, it will help. May be after a fortnight experiment, the government will improvise on the feedback it receives.”
Acclimatisation at people’s end
As it was the first day of this first-of-its kind of initiative, several people missed deadlines. And, this was the reason given by the car-owner who was challaned, as he had to rush at his work.
At various Metro rail stations, people were found rushing to board a train as they failed to have a right calculation of their timings; especially those who used to come by car and park it before boarding a metro.
Jyotsna, a commuter was little anxious as she was getting late to reach her destination in the morning. In between Nehru Place and Janpath metro stations, she spoke thrice on phone assuring the person at the other end that she would be “reaching soon”.
“I’ve an appointment today and they are waiting for me. I move on my car, but today I had to first take an auto reach metro station, as I’ve an even-numbered car (last digit) and then board the metro. I couldn’t make out the time I require while using a public transport. So, I have got late,” she said.
While appreciating the anti-pollution drive, she said there’s no problem with the metro, but reaching the metro station was a big problem due to lack of connecting mode of public transport.
“Often, it becomes very difficult to get an auto-rickshaw as it happened today. Most of them refused to ply, reasons best known to them. Henceforth I feel we all need to fine tune timing at our end and acclimatize with the new situation,” said Jyotsna, while commuting on the same metro with this Firstpost correspondent.
Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director, The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) added, “There is an urgent need to protect the health of our children. All have to get out of political discourse on this issue and adjust themselves according to the need of the hour.”
On 5 December, Firspost had conducted a poll to ask if the road rationing policy made sense. Here's how people voted-
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On the first day of its implementation, this is what the citizens' verdict appeared to be-
Do you think Delhi's #OddEvenFormula is working?
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