Delhi's odd-even car rationing is set to start for the third time in the city in a bid to curb pollution. But the RWAs and the Co-Operative Group Housing Societies (CGHS) are not taking too kindly to the measure and feel it may not be enough to solve the current emergency.
SC Bhatia, a member of the Federation of Vasundhara Enclave CGHS, said, "It may reduce traffic congestion for 15 days, but what after that? Things will be the same again. Open garbage, dust from construction sites, burning of waste in the open and firecrackers are the main causes of air pollution.”
When City Spidey asked whether car pooling would be preferred when the odd-even scheme came into force, most disliked the idea. A survey of residents in Mayur Vihar Phase I, Mayur Vihar Phase I Extension and Vasundhara Enclave clearly pointed to the fact that most people didn't like to pool cars.
Different people had different reservations. Alka Gulati, a resident of Kirti Apartments in Mayur Vihar Phase I Extension, said, “No one likes to car pool with strangers. When the odd-even scheme was implemented for the first time, I pooled with my friends, but it largely depended on where we were heading."
Ratan Lal Gupta of Vardhaman Apartments said, “I will pool only with my family.”
Residents, in fact, blamed the government for the current situation. BS Vohra, president of East Delhi RWAs Joint Forum, said despite knowing that air pollution would worsen after Diwali, the government could not curb the sale of firecrackers -- neither could it get a grip on illegal construction. He added that for the odd-even scheme to be successful, the public transport system had to be good, but such was not the case with Delhi, and a large section of people lacked Metro connectivity.
Vohra further explained, “Only 4 per cent of the pollution comes from cars, while two-wheelers contribute 23 per cent to it. As a matter of fact, during the odd-even period, the number of two-wheelers increases. People use two-wheelers on alternate days -- these, too, should be banned for 15 days.”
The government is yet to announce the date of implementation of the third odd-even phase, but an official of the transport department on condition of anonymity said the scheme was likely to be implemented by mid-December or January first week. He added, “We have successfully implemented the scheme twice before, hence we have a set format. This time, we are just plugging the loopholes. The department has been asked to submit a final report to the Cabinet for approval.”
When asked whether the scheme would be a replica of the last two rounds, he said, "I can't disclose anything until the Cabinet gives a final approval. Yes, there will be changes this time -- the Cabinet is discussing them.”
The odd-even scheme was first implemented in January 2016, from the 1st to the 15th; and then again, for a fortnight in April, beginning from the 15th. The first round had successfully reduced traffic congestion, even though it had little impact on pollution. But the second time around, instead of making much impact, it became the object of political mud-slinging.