Give Odd/Even Scheme a Fair TrialThe AAP government in Delhi has done well to announce the trial introduction of odd/even number vehicular movement on alternate days in the city from 1st January. This is not something new and has been tried with varying degree of success all over the world. Apart from being one of the most polluted cities in the world, Delhi also witnesses traffic congestions and endless wait at traffic signals. This scheme, by reducing the number of cars on any given day, would also ease the flow of traffic.
By Sunil Garodia
The current protests against the scheme, as far as cars are concerned, have been taking elitist tones. People have been saying that citizens will start keeping two cars, one with odd number and the other with even number. But this overlooks the fact that those having such affluence as buy a new car to circumvent the scheme already have many cars.
The problem is that these cars are being used to ferry single members of the family to their different destinations. For instance, one car is used to ferry one child to school, another to ferry another child to college, the next one to take the head of the household to office and still another to take the lady of the house to her social commitments. That is the lifestyle of the rich class and no one can change it. They will of course buy more cars to escape this scheme.
But we should be talking about the middle class. There are many people who stay in the same colony and go to office in the same area in their own vehicles. Socially, they find it unacceptable to share vehicles as there would be immediate sniggers about not being able to afford petrol cost etc. But if this scheme forces them to share a single vehicle to their offices, a lot would be achieved. In that sense, the Delhi scheme has the potential of bringing about a major social revolution while reducing pollution and vehicular congestion.
Of course there are many other problems that this scheme of odd/even numbers might bring up, but condemning it without giving it a fair trial is not good. It will at least make a start to address Delhiâs choking pollution and congestion problems.
But the Delhi government should also give a thought to others things that have raised pollution in Delhi beyond alarming levels. Commercial vehicles above 15 years old should not be allowed to run in the city. Movement of trucks and other load carrying vehicles should be restricted. Cars are privately owned and in most cases well maintained. They pollute much less than ill-maintained buses and other commercial vehicles. Care should be taken that the publicity generated by this odd/even scheme does not make the government to lose focus. Something needs to be done immediately about the real polluting vehicles.