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Delhi govt claims ‘odd-even’ successful but pollutants level tell another story

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New Delhi :Over 1,200 motorists were fined for flouting odd-even norms today—the first full-fledged working day after roll out of the scheme—leaving public transport packed to the capacity even as Delhi government claimed the vehicular restrictions passed the “litmus test”.

Hundreds of personnel from traffic police and enforcement wing of Delhi government’s Transport Department, assisted by civil defence volunteers were deployed across major traffic junctions to ensure enforcement of scheme on the third day of its implementation.

Though even-numbered cars dominated the roads in sync with the today’s date, odd-numbered cars seen plying in various areas were promptly challaned Rs 2,000. While police fined 1,040 motorists the Transport department penalised 191 violators.

A total of around Rs 24 lakh were collected from violators. 68 autorickshaw drivers were also challaned following complaints of them refusing to ply or over-charging.

“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,” Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai told reporters after he took a round of various areas including Patel Chowk Metro station.

Meanwhile, pollutants remained on the higher side, plunging the air quality to ‘severe’ category at times, which saw a spike from around 8 AM, when the ‘odd-even’ restrictions began, amid the presence of smog.

Weather experts said the gains of lesser cars on the city’s roads seemed to have no immediate impact on pollution levels due to variations of weather conditions, calm wind movement and a fall in day time temperature.

The Delhi government, however, maintained that analysis of data collected by mobile units of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee at 15 locations yesterday shows that Central Delhi and other areas not bordering NCR towns continue to show improvement in air quality.

It has also undertaken the study of PM 1 in Delhi’s air, particles which are finer than PM 2.5 and PM 10, whose results would be made public after January 15, at the end of the enforcement period of the pilot scheme.

The hourly update of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) showed an upward trend of PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentration since morning. At 7 pm, PM 2.5 was at 266 micrograms per cubic metre.

Talking about steps to implement the odd-even restrictions, Rai said additional 100 teams of traffic police were deployed today to ensure the enforcement of the scheme that will stay in force till January 15, on weekdays from 8 AM to 8 PM.

Besides, 66 teams of transport department which were working in two shifts of 33 teams each were deployed from morning to evening and a special squad of 100 buses were pressed into service to offer additional service in four zones with 25 buses each.

“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,” Rai said.

He credited people of Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Police and civil defence volunteers, Delhi Metro, DTC and the media for making the odd-even scheme “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.

On the other hand, pollutants in Delhi’s air today remained consistently on the higher side, plunging it to ‘severe’ category at times, which saw a spike from around 8 AM, when the ‘odd-even’ restrictions began, amid the presence of smog.

Weather experts said the gains of lesser cars on the city’s roads seemed to have no immediate impact on pollution levels due to variations of weather conditions, calm wind movement and a fall in day time temperature.

The Delhi government, however, maintained that analysis of data collected by mobile units of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee at 15 locations yesterday shows that Central Delhi and other areas not bordering NCR towns continue to show improvement in air quality.

PTI

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