New Delhi: The number of vehicles on roads came down significantly on Monday with only even number cars plying in the national capital on the first day of government's odd-even road rationing scheme.
The anti-pollution measure kicked in from 8 am in Delhi and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged people to follow the scheme for the sake of their family and children. Kejriwal carpooled with Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Kumar Jain and Labour Minister Gopal Rai to reach the Delhi Secretariat.
नमस्ते दिल्ली! प्रदूषण कम करने के लिए आज से Odd Even शुरू हो रहा है। अपने लिए, अपने बच्चों की सेहत के लिए और अपने परिवार की साँसों के लिए Odd Even का ज़रूर पालन करें। कार शेयर करें। इस से दोस्ती बढ़ेगी, रिश्ते बनेंगे, पेट्रोल बचेगा और प्रदूषण भी कम होगा।
दिल्ली फिर कर दिखायेगी— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 4, 2019
While Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia rode a bicycle to from his residence, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot travelled in his OSD's car to reach the secretariat.
"I have been on Delhi roads for almost two hours and I am happy that basic compliance is being done and most of the vehicles are even numbers. I thank all Delhiites for their cooperation," Gahlot said. Under the scheme, apart from exempted categories, only those non-transport four-wheeled vehicles will ply on the roads which have registration numbers ending with an even digit.
The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city at 7:30 am stood at 439, which falls in the 'severe' category. An AQI between 0-50 is considered 'good', 51-100 'satisfactory', 101-200 'moderate', 201-300 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'. An AQI above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' category.
"Namaste Delhi, odd-even is starting from today to reduce pollution. Please do follow it for yourself, your family, kids and your breath. Share cars. It will strengthen friendship, form relations, save petrol and pollution," Kejriwal said in an early morning tweet in Hindi. He also appealed to auto and taxi drivers not to overcharge commuters and urged them to take part in the scheme. Violations of the odd-even rule will invite a fine of Rs 4,000.
Over 600 teams of Delhi Traffic Police and the transport and revenue departments have been deployed for a strict implementation of the scheme across the city. Rohit Rai (27), a senior creative designer working for an MNC in Gurgaon, said that he had to travel to his office in metro as his car number ended in an odd digit.
"As I live in Ghaziabad, it is more convenient for me to drive my car to work, but due to increasing pollution, it is also our responsibility to make this city clean," he said. Under the scheme, which will be implemented from 8 am to 8 pm till November 15, non-transport four-wheeled vehicles with registration numbers ending with an odd digit (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) will not be allowed on the roads on November 4, 6, 8, 12 and 14.
Similarly, vehicles with registration numbers ending with an even digit (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) will not be allowed on the roads on November 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15. Two-wheelers and electric vehicles have been exempted from the restrictions, but not CNG vehicles. Women-only vehicles with children aged up to 12 years and vehicles occupied by physically-disabled persons will also be exempted.
Twenty-nine categories of vehicles, including those of president, prime minister, emergency and enforcement vehicles, have been exempted. However, the vehicles of the Delhi chief minister and ministers will not be exempted.