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Odd-even formula kicks off successfully on day one of 2016 in Delhi
The Delhi government's odd-even scheme was implemented from today starting 8 am on the roads of Delhi and the first offender was soon caught at 8.33 am at ITO junction while travelling in an even numbered car. The offender who was slapped with a fine of Rs 2,000 said that he had no other option, as there was no alternate transport available from his residence near Greater Noida to his office.

BJP MP Satyapal Singh was also stopped near India Gate today by the Delhi Traffic Police for travelling in an even numbered car.

While many people including the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal are of the opinion that the formula has succeeded on the first day of implementation, Kiran Bedi said that it was too early to judge. ANI quoted Bedi as saying, "It's too early to judge as we are heading towards weekend, schools are closed, and people are still on New Year holiday. The real test is when holiday is over schools open. Working on experimentation is one of the strategies we need to address more holistically."

However, much less traffic was reported from all across the city today. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in his usual style took a jibe at the central government and said, "Dilli ke logon ne Kendra sarkar ki aisi-taisi kar di…Unhon ne Kendra ko angootha dikha diya. (The people of Delhi have shown the central government)." His remarks came as people of Delhi took up the odd-even scheme seriously even though a few leaders of the central government had crticised the scheme and had said that it would never succeed.

No matter how difficult or inconvenient this formula proves for Delhiites, but the bottom line is that we have no other choice. Delhi has become the most polluted city in the world, and so much so that the Delhi High Court observed a few days back that living in Delhi was like "living in a gas chamber".

So there is no point in being cynical about this odd-even scheme, as it not only concerns our health but also the health of our children. Delhi has 20 lakh registered vehicles, and if even half remain off the roads every day, it is bound to have an impact not only on the pollution levels but also on the traffic situation. Delhi adds 1.400 new vehicles everyday to the existing pile.

So bad has the air quality become that Delhi's population of 20 million is exposed to over 153 micrograms per cubic metre of 2.5 particulate matter, which is 15 to 20 times higher than desired according to the World Health Organisation.

However there is another aspect to this whole issue which is bound to cause hindrances in a permanent implementation of the odd-even scheme in Delhi. The public transportation system of the city is in a bad shape. The Delhi Transport Corporation only has a fleet of 4,705 buses per 45 lakh commuters, which means almost 1 bus for almost a thousand people. If you minus out the buses which break down everyday almost only half of them are able to ply on a routine basis, putting more pressure on the ageing fleet. DTCs demand for 1,380 new buses is pending for the past two years, even though the previous government had provided funds for the same.

As far as Delhi Metro is concerned, it currently only covers 12 per cent area of Delhi . Many projects of the DMRC continue to get delayed. Besides only a Delhiite like me who has frequently traveled on Delhi Metro knows how overcrowded it gets during peak hours. It is almost impossible to find even space to place a needle, leave alone a human being. Now with the implementation of the odd-even scheme, more pressure would be put on Delhi Metro.

So in conclusion, although the people of Delhi understand graveness of the situation and are fully cooperating with the Delhi government, there are a few issues related to public transport which Mr Kejriwal will have to address to, if he is serious about implementing the odd-even formula on a permanent basis. 

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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