‘Emergency’ was one of the most used — rather misused — word on the city streets that Delhi Traffic Police personnel heard from drivers on Friday.
Stopped for driving a vehicle with an even number licence plate — in violation of Delhi’s experimental odd-even car restriction scheme — some drivers even produced medical prescriptions claiming it was a ‘medical emergency.’
At Dhaula Kuan red light, where traffic police fined three drivers during the first hour of Friday’s odd-even drive, most drivers said that they had to go to the doctor. With no option, the on duty police officers had to let the offenders go with an advice to stop lying.
Traffic Police chief Muktesh Chander said he was surprised at how many of the drivers said they were not even aware of the scheme. “It is surprising, how they claimed to be ignorant about the rule. The news was published widely, discussed on television debates and also advertised by the government,” Chander said.
Another common reason, most officers heard on Friday, was refusal to take public transport. “They said they had no option but to get their only vehicle out on the road. Some working in MNCs told us that taking a radio cab would cost them around `2,000 anyway. So they thought it would be better to pay the fine and travel in their own car only,” Chander said.
Confusion about the status of zero being an odd or even number was another excuse that police heard from many drivers who were stopped for driving a vehicle whose number plate ended with zero.
The transport department of the government had earlier decided to consider zero as an even number.
“Most vehicles fined on Friday were those whose number ended with a zero. Despite so many discussions, a number of drivers claimed that they were unaware of the rules regarding this number (zero). We had to clarify that the government had deemed zero as an even number to many people today,” said a traffic police officer.
A few drivers oddly also believed that wishing the cops a Happy New Year and claiming that they were returning from a party would ensure that they are let off. These drivers claimed that they assumed police would start the drive from January 2 and not be stringent on the first day of the year.