On 1 January Delhi had a new start with the Odd-Even Formula for use of non-CNG vehicles. The policy introduced by the Delhi government on a trial basis aims to control the alarming pollution level and the smog in the capital. Capital Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world, the pollution level proving to be hazardous to its residents. Under these circumstances Delhi had no option than to try the Odd-Even Formula.
Many people were sceptical about the formula, and to argue that the idea should be dropped they cited the lack of proper public transport in Delhi, inadequate number of private taxis, safety of women, and inconvenience to the common man. The government after discussions with the authorities exempted single-woman drivers, women drivers with children below 12 years, emergency vehicles, two wheelers, CNG vehicles and VVIP vehicles from the rule.
So, an anxious Delhi awaited the New Year to test the Odd-Even Formula. Surprisingly, the response was much better than expected: people complied with the new rule, stepped out on the city roads with vehicles that were allowed on a particular day. Many residents took the metro, public transport, and others pooled cars. The end result was lesser cars on the roads. People were also checking each other’s car plates to catch rule breakers, but very few had broken the rule. The spirit of the Delhi residents was commendable and even on the second day the residents followed the rule without much hassle.
Regular officer goers reported reduced traffic; people were able to reach destinations faster and even some of the critics have acknowledged that the Odd-Even Formula had helped in reducing the traffic on the roads and whether it did reduce any pollution will be known after the trial period is completed.
Many international cities like Beijing, Tehran, Sao Paola, Bogota have successfully followed the Odd-Even rule but with different modules, some cities implementing twice a week, few once a week and others only during peak hours.
The positive response in Delhi has even forced authorities in other Indian metros to think about the Odd-Even formula. This formula may be of great help to cities facing traffic jams. Mumbai has already announced that it might try to implement the formula in coming days with different schedules.
Although it is too early to declare that the Odd-Even formula has reduced pollution, it can’t be denied that it has reduced traffic without causing much hassle to the public and has given a new perspective to the authorities. Experts have pointed that the industrial pollution is the major concern in Delhi, and that strict and urgent steps to curb it have to be implemented for better results. The positive thing is the residents have realised the health hazards of the dangerous pollution levels and have come forward to experiment for the better of the city.
Despite the scepticism from critics and political opponents the efforts of both public and Delhi government are well appreciated by all. Many residents want the rule to be extended beyond the deadline, which indicates that the Odd-Even formula has been welcomed by the residents of Delhi. With proper planning, coordination and rotation of schedules the Odd-Even formula may last longer providing better results. The real heroes are the Dilliwalahs who are following the Odd-Even formula without many complaints, but then do they have a choice in the present scenario?
The views expressed here are author’s own