In the backdrop of the Paris Climate Summit and increasing smog in Delhi, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered the Delhi Government to take measures in order to reduce air pollution in Delhi. Responding to NGT’s call, Delhi Government took a decision to implement Odd-Even rule starting from 1st Jan 2016 for 15 days as a trial.
Delhi is the most polluted city in India and the vehicles in Delhi are the major contributors to the same due to very high vehicle density on Delhi roads which not only increases pollution but also causes huge traffic jams during rush hour which further results in increase in pollution due to the the idle running engines. So in response, the odd even rule targeted the very vehicular density of Delhi to tackle the problem. It made compulsory for odd numbered cars to run on odd days and even numbered cars on even days and thus aimed to reduce the number of vehicles plying on the road by 30% and thus reduce the vehicular pollution through it.
The inception of the program was very good as the Central Government and Delhi Police also pitched in to support the trial campaign. Through advertisements and repeated calls by the Delhi Government and the police the commuters were notified of the rule and various other rules that came along with it. After its initiation most people either used public transport like metro and buses whose frequency of operation was increased and many buses were added to the fleet to cater to the increased commuter numbers.
Merits and response to this rule aside the approach of the Delhi Government towards the main problem of polluted air was not satisfactory. While the trial period is over now but the Delhi Government is still patting its back over the successful completion of the trial. The focus of the government on the odd-even rule particularly is very high which is nothing but a stop gap solution to the pollution problem until a better system can be implemented. The recent media reports does not indicate any out of the box thinking by the government. Since the odd even rule is short term solution hence the government should look to towards better solutions like promoting bicycles on the roads by introducing cycle lanes which are still not present in the city unlike any other modern city around the world.
When everything is considered it is clear that the government is willing to take the responsibility to clean Delhi but it should not be fixated on the odd-even rule alone but should venture out to implement other rules which can help the city in the longer run which includes effective mass transport planning.