The Delhi government implemented the odd-even traffic rationing scheme from 1st January 2016. My car is odd numbered so I had to rely on taxis on even dates. It is a good initiative by the government; at least it’s a start for bringing down pollution levels.
But did it really bring the pollution levels down? I am not too sure about that. Pollution is affected not just by the number of vehicles on the road. The weather has a huge role to play. Wind speed, humidity and temperature – all affect the pollution levels. Amusingly, contradictory reports appeared in different newspapers about the new scheme’s effect on pollution levels.
I have been following the scheme diligently myself. But there are some genuine concerns. The public transport is not quite up to the mark for people to switch from personal vehicles. For instance, I need to change buses twice to reach my college that’s a measly 8 km away. Instead, I just drive. It takes me one-third the time. If there was a better alternative in public transport, I would have been happy to switch.
Thousands of people entering Delhi on Monday, 1st January were challaned near the border. They were possibly the ones who were out for the weekend on New Year’s. What happens if you drive out of the city on one day, but have to return the next day? Do you wait for 12 hours at the border to avoid the challan? These are only some of the concerns.
The odd-even scheme is a novel experiment and it would be interesting to see the results. But it can’t be the permanent solution to the problem.