The Delhi government rolled out the third edition of the 12-day Odd-Even scheme on Monday owing to the alarming level of pollution in the National Capital. Following which, people had mixed reactions to the plan. Several people lauded the AAP government's move, saying that such a step was needed to be taken to combat the rise in air pollution. However, others accused the Arvind Kejriwal-led government of not taking enough efforts to curb the pollution and politicising the issue.
Reports showed that the air quality in the city had infact improved after the implementation of the scheme. On Tuesday, the average air quality index (AQI) was recorded as 370 at 7.30 am, and an increase in wind speed was also expected to help clear the haze that had formed over the capital.
On Monday, a day after pollution levels peaked to a three-year high (494), in a much-anticipated move, the city's air quality improved, and the AQI was recorded as 407 at 4 pm. It dipped further and at 8.30 pm when the AQI stood at 370, which falls in the "very poor" category.
Results of Day 1:
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal termed the scheme as successful.
Nearly 260 challans were issued and violators — including BJP leader Vijay Goel who violated the rule by driving an SUV with an odd last digit in its registration number — fined Rs 4,000.
Two thousand civil defence volunteers, 465 teams of the Delhi traffic police, revenue and transport departments were deployed. Six thousand buses, including 650 private buses were also pressed into service to deal with the additional number of commuters.
A Delhi government official said that DTC buses ferried over eight lakh passengers while cluster buses carried four lakh people in the morning shift.
Many took to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to inform others that their cars were available for pooling.
'Politicising the issue'
The BJP and AAP accused each other of politicising the emergency, thereby not doing enough to curb the rising pollution.
Goel termed the initiative "an election stunt" by Kejriwal's government. His action invited a rebuke from Kejriwal who said he was "pained by this behaviour".
Slamming Goel, Kejriwal said when the residents of Delhi are supporting the Odd-Even scheme, the BJP is opposing the efforts of people to reduce pollution.
Hitting out at Goel, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the BJP leader's job was to do politics, but he has no solution to the problem.
Long wait for cabs:
People struggled to book cabs on the first day of the scheme due to increased demand. However, cab-services like Ola and Uber had extended their support to the state government's move and said that they will not resort to surge pricing during the time. Chief Minister Kejriwal had also warned auto-drivers and e-rickshaws against charging extra to commuters and had said that strict action will be taken against them.
PTI quoted Shashi Goswami, 65, who had planned her journey from Dwarka to Faridabad, and said it took her around 40 minutes to book a cab, probably due to high demand.
"Despite the time taken by the cab, I support this move of the government and there was no surcharge on Monday," she said.
Another commuter Nitish Sharma (26), who works at an MNC in Noida, said, "I have an odd-numbered car. I wanted to go to Janakpuri and booked a cab, but even after repeated efforts, the cab did not turn up and finally, I opted for Metro."
Taranjeet Singh, a businessman, also had to wait for his cab. He, however, hailed the Delhi government's move, saying the odd-even rules should be applied for 10 days every month.
An Ola spokesperson said the company will also work closely with its driver-partners to ensure maximum availability of vehicles during peak hours as well as during the staggered office timings.
A spokesperson for Uber said it "is doing everything possible to help ensure that movement around the city is easy during this time. We have initiated a proactive driver-partner campaign in Delhi-NCR urging them to offer pledges of support and come out on the roads to ensure maximum rider convenience. So far, Uber has already received more than 14,000 pledges from our driver-partners".
Most residents were happy with the fact that such a move was implemented to help curb pollution levels.
4th of Nov. 3rd edition of #oddeven
Found Rajen, a chai wallah, fully updated on pollution levels. Said he skipped work yesterday, he read out headlines from newspapers and welcomed #oddeven#DelhiAirEmergency #oddeven pic.twitter.com/bQnoWfxSkf
— Rupashree Nanda (@rupashreenanda) November 4, 2019
— Priyanka Sharma (@journopriyanka9) November 4, 2019
Like a law abiding citizen will follow the odd even rule. Much much more needs to be done though to get pollution levels down.. @narendramodi @ArvindKejriwal @capt_amarinder @myogiadityanath @mlkhattar pic.twitter.com/RgSQ3TpI4V
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) November 4, 2019
I support #oddevendobara
It should be permanent in Delhi
Once a week ban on all commercial vehicles as well
— Maj Yogesh Dahiya🇮🇳 (@dahiyayogesh81) November 4, 2019
आसमान और हवा काफी हद तक साफ है ..कई दिनों बाद सांस में सांस आई है ..अगर इसमें थोड़ा भी योगदान ODD -EVEN का है तो @ArvindKejriwal की सरकार को बधाई ..सियासत के लिए ऐसी कोशिशों को खारिज करने की बजाय एक जुट होकर इस समस्या पर सोचने की ज़रूरत है #DelhiNCRPollution pic.twitter.com/pf7piFx4F1
— Ajit Anjum (@ajitanjum) November 5, 2019
— Ashish (@AshishXL) November 4, 2019
— NBT Dilli (@NBTDilli) November 4, 2019
Hopefully, we won’t require this mask tomorrow with weather clearing and air getting better in Delhi! The air quality bettered considerably in the evening today and with wind blowing, odd-even in place, it should only get better from here tomorrow!
— Prashant Kumar (@scribe_prashant) November 4, 2019
Cars with physically-disabled individuals, VIPs and those driven by women are exempt from the scheme but they should only have women and children under the age of 12 as passengers.
However, the Delhi chief minister, Cabinet ministers and cars entering the National Capital from other states are not exempted from the scheme.
Two-wheelers continue to be exempted like last time, but not CNG vehicles.
The Odd-Even scheme will go on from 4 to 15 November in an attempt to reduce the amount of pollution in the city. It will be implemented from 8 am to 8 pm, and violators will be charged a fine of Rs 4,000.
Last week, a public health emergency was declared in Delhi-NCR following an alarming level of pollution which the AAP government said was because of stubble-burning in neighbouring states.
With inputs from PTI.
Updated Date: Nov 05, 2019 09:52:28 IST