Indian capital adopts 'odd-even' scheme for vehicles to curb pollution

By REUTERS
January 2, 2016 05:33
1 minute read.

 
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The Delhi government rolled out its "odd-even" plan to limit private cars in the Indian capital from Friday, New Year's Day, as it attempts to curb alarming levels of pollution in the city.

The plan is undergoing an initial two-week trial, with private cars now only allowed to run on alternate days depending on their number plates. With Jan. 1 being an odd number date, only odd-numbered vehicles were allowed on the roads.

Traffic policemen are strictly enforcing the policy with violators being met with steep fines of up to 2,000 rupees (40 US dollars).

The move has been welcomed by many commuters who want to see changes.

"The new regulation is pretty good, as there are obviously fewer cars on the roads than before. I applaud the uncrowded roads," said Shiv Arora, a local citizen.

Under such circumstances, many local commuters choose to car-pool or takes buses and other public transport means.

"People will definitely meet some trouble when going out, but we also need to change our way of transportation and we will definitely need to adjust to the new changes," said Bhawana Gaud, a local government official.

Emergency vehicles like ambulances, police cars, fire engines and taxis are exempt from the order.

In the meantime, the Delhi government added an additional 3,000 buses and 70 more subway trains to help alleviate the traffic pressure, but many local citizens say they expect further measures to be taken.

"The government needs to add more buses and subway services. No miracles will happen overnight. If the "odd-even" scheme works, it will be a pretty good thing," said Shiv Arora.

"It's good, but yes there is a lot of problems we are facing, because tomorrow I need to work. I am a sales guy, so I will work. Because we need a car. Tomorrow we need to manage it for someone else," said Mahesh Sharma, another local citizen.

Official data showed the pollution load was reduced by some 10 percent, with about 200 people fined for breaking the new regulation on its first day of implementation on Friday.

The Delhi government announced the scheme after the High Court remarked that the Indian capital is like a gas chamber with pollution levels 10 times more than the World Health Organization's safe limits.

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