New Delhi :
The odd-even scheme returned to the capital after a gap of two-and-a-half months and was marked by heightened crackdown on violators though less number of private cars plied as it was a public holiday today. Thousands of policemen and civil defence volunteers were deployed in various areas of the city to enforce the restriction which will run for 15 days till April 30.
Over 1,300 violators were penalised as against crackdown on 203 motorists on the first day of the scheme’s roll out on January 1.
The actual impact of the scheme will be known only on Monday, the first full working day after the second phase roll out. Today is a holiday because of Ram Navami followed by Saturday and Sunday.
“Odd even starts today. Let’s all join hands and resolve to make it a success,” Kejriwal tweeted.
The roll out of the scheme was marred by major snags on Delhi Metro’s Red Line that connects Dilshad Garden to Rithala which threw services out of gear for several hours, prompting the government to order an inquiry into the matter. Thousands of passengers were stranded across the 23-km-long corridor.
Metro recorded ridership of 16.38 lakh till 8 pm as against its daily average of 27 lakh.
Transport Minister Gopal Rai went to Shastri Park station in the afternoon to take stock of the situation. The government also added 10 buses in the route to mitigate the woes of people.
The Delhi government, which has projected the second phase of the road-rationing policy as the “decisive” one, said that 2,000 traffic personnel, 580 enforcement officials and over 5,000 civil defence volunteers are being deployed by it for smooth implementation of the scheme.
Violators will be fined Rs 2,000 in accordance with relevant section of the Motor Vehicles Act and the scheme will not be implemented on Sundays. Under the scheme, odd-numbered cars are allowed to run on odd dates while even-numbered cars are allowed on even dates.
The Transport Department of Delhi government prosecuted 427 violators while Traffic Police fined 884 motorists.
The first phase of the policy did not have its intended affect as it could not lower pollution “as much as expected” but it significantly helped reduce traffic congestion in the city, Kejriwal has said.
However, he has also stated that his government is seriously considering to enforce the measure for a period of 15 days every month. Sources said any decision in this regard will be taken after analysing the impact of the second phase of the odd-even scheme in reducing pollution.
The government has conceded that it has not been able to find a solution to the problem of cars going to pick up children after school hours during the scheme. Kejriwal has suggested car pooling to parents to avoid problems.
Two hundred metro trains will make around 3,248 trips daily during the next fortnight, a rise of about 56 trips over the existing arrangements, DMRC has said.
The city government has formed 120 teams comprising officials of the transport department to punish errant car drivers.
The traffic police has identified 200 intersections across the city where their personnel will be deployed in teams.
Also, a 20-member Special Task Force has been set up to look into matters reported by the mobile teams.
Meanwhile, a section of auto and taxi union have threatened to go on a day-long strike on Monday against app-based cabs. The strike may cause hardship to commuters.
Rajendra Soni, who is general secretary of both ‘Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh’ and ‘Delhi Pradesh Taxi Unions’, said auto and black-yellow taxis will not ply on the capital’s roads on Monday against the app-based cab services.
An official in the IMD department said air quality has been moderate over the last 20 days although it dipped today owing to pollutants-laden wind blowing from the north west direction.
The real-time readings of SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research), Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) stations had PM 10 (coarser than PM 2.5) as the prominent pollutant.