On Day 1, Delhi Roads Wear De­serted Look

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Our Po­lit­i­cal Bureau

New Delhi: Delhi’s streets wore a largely va­cant look Fri­day as the sec­ond phase of the odd and even road ra­tioning scheme and fes­tive hol­i­day both kept com­muters off streets.

With a strike of taxi and au­torick­shaws called by unions on Mon­day, and re­turn of citizens away from city for hol­i­day, govern­ment ex­pects Mon­day to be the real test.

Both the traf­fic po­lice and Delhi govern­ment’s ad­di­tional de­ploy­ments in en­force­ment wing were out in rel­a­tively-larger num­bers as com­pared to Jan­uary for en­sur­ing com­pli­ance to norms by com­muters.

In the first five hours it­self, the pres­ence of over 2,000 traf­fic po­lice had en­sured that 511 car driv­ers were booked for vi­o­lat­ing norms. The govern­ment’s 400 strong en­force­ment de­ploy­ments had, on their part, booked 427 vi­o­la­tors through­out the day. Largely, though, trans­port min­is­ter Gopal Rai claimed the scheme’s per­for­mance on first day had been as good as the first time.

“No ma­jor vi­o­la­tion was re­ported any­where. Like last time, peo­ple sup­ported us,” claimed San­jay Jha, par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary (trans­port).

He, how­ever, con­ceded that long fes­tive week­end had helped in en­sur­ing va­cant streets. “We will know on Mon­day how peo­ple re­spond to our prepa­ra­tions for sec­ond phase of the scheme,” he added. About 5400 civil de­fence vol­un­teers had been posted at dif­fer­ent traf­fic in­ter­sec­tions to help in im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Rai and Jha both toured parts of the Cen­tral Delhi in­clud­ing In­dia Gate, Con­naught Place, Darya­ganj, among oth­ers, to wit­ness sit­u­a­tion on streets. Both claimed traf­fic had been bet­ter. “Odd even is aimed at re­duc­tion in pol­lu­tion. Af­ter all, traf­fic con­ges­tion also causes pol­lu­tion,” said Rai.

Un­like the first edi­tion, un­ex­pected break­down of Metro ser­vices on the red line due to break in over­head wire had en­sured that com­muters were af­fected for hours. Rai him­self vis­ited Shas­tri Park metro sta­tion con­trol room and or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into break­down of ser­vices. A three-mem­ber com­mit­tee was formed to probe over­head equip­ment (OHE) fail­ure, which has been asked to file a re­port within a week. Call from Sangh-af­fil­i­ated taxi and au­torick­shaw unions of a strike on Mon­day added to the wor­ries of im­ple­men­ta­tion of the scheme on Mon­day.

Delhi trans­port min­is­ter Gopal Rai in­spects the traf­fic dur­ing the sec­ond phase of odd-even day in New Delhi on Fri­day.

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