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Odd-even scheme passed litmus test due to will of Delhiites: Gopal Rai

PTI 05 Jan 2016, 0:08:43 IST

New Delhi: The odd-even scheme has passed the "litmus test" because of the "will of Delhiites", transport minister Gopal Rai claimed on Monday as odd numbered cars largely stayed off roads on a full-fledged working day, in accordance with the ambitious vehicle rationing scheme.

"Monday was the day being deemed as the litmus test for Odd-Even scheme. But I had faith in the people of Delhi and also we had put in adequate arrangements so that citizens do not face any inconvenience.
"It was a major challenge, but the scheme has passed the test because of the will of Delhiites.

They have given us their whole-hearted support to make this a success," Rai said.

Most of the violators were from outside Delhi, he said, noting that around 400 violators were challaned by traffic police and 109 violators by Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department and 68 autorickshaw drivers were challaned following complaints.

He further said that 800 complaints were received by the helpline number launched by government and that around 2,500 people have downloaded the Poochho app till Momday.

Rai stated that some elements were trying to "misguide people" and sabotage the scheme by circulating old and false pictures of an overcrowded Rajiv Chowk Metro station in social media and creating panic.

"There were attempts to spread misinformation and misguide people by circulating old and false pictures of overcrowded Rajiv Chowk Metro station in social media.

I spoke to Metro officials and took a feedback of 50 stations, and we were informed that the crowd today was less than the peak crowd recorded in December in the past and the picture which was posted was of October 22," he said.

Rai, who took a bus ride on Monday to take stock of roads, credited five people - people of Delhi, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi police and civil defence volunteers, Metro, DTC and cluster buses and the media for making the drive "a grand success".

Rai said the Delhi Metro had made all requisite arrangements and capacity was increased to carry 32 lakh commuters. Also, 25 Metro Monitoring Teams have been working since morning.

Rai accused several schools of betraying the government despite making commitments and not joining the drive at the last moment.

"Several schools betrayed us. Despite repeated requests, they did not provide us with buses. A total of 1,799 buses from 408 schools had registered with us.

But after all the meetings and despite making repeated requests, only 366 buses from 125 schools joined us while 283 schools betrayed the government even after giving their commitment. Some even went to court even after we agreed to their terms and conditions.

"We will publish their names. We will not take any action against them, but I want to ask them why they, who sculpt the future of children, went back on their words? They should have come forward for the sake of the campaign which we undertook to protect health of our children. Owners of 1,433 buses from 283 schools let us down after making commitment," he said.

"In anticipation of large number of people availing public transport, DTC had made preparations for a carrying a capacity of 64 lakh people. But carpooling played a major role. People shared their vehicles because of which there was less crowd in public transport.

"All buses were plying below full capacity," Rai said, adding that the department had kept 100 buses as standby in case of emergency.

He informed that 4,462 DTC, 1,231 cluster buses and 1,251 private buses, totalling 7,143 ones were on roads on Monday.

Rai further said that pollution levels in the inner circles of city had come down since the scheme was implemented on January 1 even though the the pollution levels are still high in border areas.

Greater impact would be seen if the scheme is implemented in states surrounding Delhi like Haryana and UP.

"The pollution levels have come down in inner Delhi but the pollution levels are still high in border areas for various reasons, such as movement of diesel vehicles and trucks.

After 15 days, we will review the situation and take a feedback from all stakeholders and discuss the issue with the governments of NCR states to see if they can also adopt the odd-even scheme," he said.
Rai said that he will meet Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari and urge him to expedite the peripheral highway project.

On the issue of volunteers and officials being asked to use hidden cameras to record and take pictures of violators, Rai said Delhi government had received inputs about possible miscreants attempting to disrupt the scheme.

"We had received inputs about possible miscreants attempting to disrupt the scheme and bring in cars with number plates that are not allowed to ply so that the initiative fails following which decision was taken," he said.

Meanwhile, Rai on Monday took a bus ride which started from Delhi Secretariat passed through Delhi Gate, Ramlila Ground, Connaught Place, India Gate, Pragati Maidan, ITO and finally concluded at the starting point.

Rai also visited Patel Chowk Metro Station and interacted with commuters to understand if they were facing any problems.

Praising the people's efforts, PWD minister Satyendar Jain said Delhiites have adopted the movement as their own and that the government is getting requests to make the scheme permanent.