Day four of the Delhi government’s odd-even experiment began with reports of major traffic snarls emerging from various parts of the city.
Traffic congestion was witnessed at ITO, Nizamuddin Bridge, Ashram and city borders on Monday morning, the Delhi Traffic Police said, adding that they had to deploy over 2,000 personnel on city streets to regulate the peak hour rush.
Police actively prosecuted violators of the odd-even rule at the Delhi-Gurgaon border, causing a one-kilometre-long traffic jam at Mahipalpur. Adding to the congestion issue was the ongoing construction work at the Nehru Place-Chirag Delhi flyover, an area that the traffic police advised city residents to avoid through Twitter messages.
The second phase of the odd-even experiment was launched on April 15 to reduce the alarming levels of air pollution in the city.
As most of the city schools re-opened after a four-day break, parents were seen dropping their children off much before 8 am. Many among them, however, were unsure of how to pick them up from school in the afternoon. While some said they would take autorickshaws, others planned to use their two-wheelers for the purpose.
The more resourceful among city residents decided to car-pool with other parents to pick their children. Prerna, whose son studies in Springdales Pusa Road, said: “I have an odd-numbered car and another parent has an even-numbered car. We have decided to take turns at dropping and picking our children on alternate days.”
App-based cab services – for their part – made the most of the situation, with many commuters complaining of steep surge pricing. “I have taken a screen grab of the fare, which showed the price surging by five times. I was forced to take the cab because there was no other option,” said a woman journalist who paid Rs 800 for an Uber ride from Janakpuri to Connaught Place.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Vijay Goel decided to protest against chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s “wasteful advertisements to promote the rule” by driving out of his Ashoka Road residence in his odd-numbered car, only to be stopped by the traffic police. Goel was fined Rs 2,000 for violating the odd-even rule, and an addition Rs 1,500 for not possessing his driving licence and insurance papers.
An hour prior to this, Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai had visited Goel at his residence and – handing the MP a bouquet of roses – requested him to reconsider breaking the rule.
Goel had told HT on Saturday that he was not against the odd-even scheme, but rather the manner in which the Kejriwal government was wasting money through advertisements to propagate it.