On Day 1, Delhi Roads Wear Deserted Look
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.