Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said that the government needed at least one-and-a-half-years to strengthen public transport in Delhi.
The Delhi government will launch phase II of its odd-even scheme from April 15 but Kejriwal made it clear that the road rationing scheme cannot be made permanent.
“The public transport system is not adequate yet. It will take at least one-and-a-half-years to strengthen it. But we are thinking about implementing the scheme once every month,” said Kejriwal.
The CM conceded that the first phase of odd even rationing had not reduced pollution as expected. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had implemented the first phase of the scheme from January 1 to January 15.
Though the primary aim of the government was to reduce pollution, the scheme worked in tackling congestion on the city’s roads, he said. The second phase of the scheme will be held from April 15 to 30.
“The odd-even did not reduce pollution as expected but it greatly reduced congestion on Delhi roads. There was 20-30% reduction in pollution,” Kejriwal told students of Sarvodya Vidyalaya at Moti Bagh in south Delhi.
Like in January, the government took a pledge with school students this time as well for making Delhi a pollution-free city and asked the youngsters to encourage car pooling and walk to schools to make the air in the city clean. Along with Kejriwal, education minister Manish Sisodia and transport minister Gopal Rai took the pledge.
On Wednesday, the chief minister congratulated the people and students for making the scheme popular. “In other countries where the scheme was started it became very unpopular. Delhi was the only city where it became popular. Public told me that this should be implemented permanently,” he said.
Accepting that the scheme this time could cause problem for parents dropping children to school, he asked them to carpool for few days. One of the student even requested that parents be given relaxation till 9 am. But Kejriwal said that was not possible.
He told students on apart from odd-even, the government has started vacuum cleaning of roads, changed the timing of trucks entering the city and will soon plant grass on the roadsides.
At the oath-taking ceremony, Kejriwal said that volunteers will have make sure people follow the restriction through Gandhigiri, while police will use challans.
“There are 500 police personnel and 5,000 of you. There should be more Gandhigiri than policing,” Kejriwal said to civil defence volunteers.