Day two odd-even second phase, police fines 678 people
New Delhi: The second day of the second phase odd-even scheme on Saturday saw over 600 violations even as the traffic was not at its peak due to the weekend. There were mixed reports on pollution level with Delhi pollution panel reporting increased gaseous pollution and a high concentration of particulate matter in some areas while Delhi government claimed a positive impact on air quality.
In a statement, the Delhi government said that initial trends showed the odd-even scheme had a positive impact on Delhi's air quality and added the concrete assessment will be made after assessing the data of four-five working days.
However, the real time assessment of the air quality by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) said the gas concentration, mainly nitrogen dioxide, dropped on Saturday.
A total of 437 violators were fined in the first five hours (till 1 p.m.) and the total went up to 678 till it ended at 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of odd-numbered vehicles went off the roads in the capital on Saturday, as people in Delhi embraced the novel odd-even vehicle restriction policy aimed at curbing alarming levels of pollution.
On day one of the scheme, over 1,300 violators were fined -- 884 by the traffic police and 427 by the Delhi Transport Department. Those not abiding by the rule are to be fined Rs.2,000.
An hour after the start of the second day of the scheme, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to "fail" the Delhi government's odd-even traffic scheme.
"BJP appeals people to break odd-even. BJP auto union calls strike. RSS and BJP want odd-even to fail but Delhi will fail BJP yet again," he tweeted.
In another tweet, Kejriwal said: "In January too, BJP tried to fail odd-even by orchestrating officers' strike. People failed BJP and made odd-even success."
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of Delhi had on Friday kicked off the second phase of its odd-even scheme in the national capital. The opposition parties, however, did not back the plan and demanded improvement in the existing public transport facilities.
BJP's Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyaya said the "unplanned" odd-even scheme was causing inconvenience to the citizens.
"It is the most unplanned scheme the government has come up with. The government has not worked on improving the public transportation system," he said on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government on Saturday formed a five-member metro task force to deal with technical problems that hit Metro train services.
The decision was taken a day after the "technical snag" on Kashmere Gate to Dilshad Garden line of the Metro which slowed down services on Friday.
Transport Minister Gopal Rai, while announcing the metro task force, said on Saturday that a special duty chart has been prepared and 20 officials will be deployed to manage crowds at six inter-sectional Metro stations like Rajiv Chowk, Central Secretariat, Kashmere Gate, Inderlok, Kirti Nagar and Vishwa Vidyalaya.
Rai also cancelled the leaves of the Metro officials during the second phase of 'odd-even' traffic restriction scheme unless it is an emergency.
Delhi has over 26 lakh registered cars as of March 31, 2015. On Friday, the even numbered private cars went off the roads in compliance with the traffic restrictions for four-wheelers.
The odd-even vehicle movement plan for four-wheelers will continue till April 30 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. except on Sundays. The scheme allows cars with odd-numbered registration plates to run on odd dates and even-numbered ones on even dates.
The scheme is not applicable to vehicles being operated through compressed natural gas (CNG), two-wheelers, women motorists and several categories of VIPs.