Hundreds of civil defence volunteers, accompanied by Delhi traffic police personnel and Delhi government officials, gathered at Chhatrasal Stadium on Wednesday for the government’s ‘thanksgiving’ ceremony for the “success” of the odd-even restriction in the city.
Volunteers, whom chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai thanked for the success of odd-even, started coming in the afternoon itself. Many made their way to the venue directly from their offices.
“We worked really hard for 15 days. It was very hot but I turned up for my duty every single day. It is good the government acknowledges our efforts,” said Parnimder Kaur, a volunteer.
Kejriwal thanked traffic police personnel and said the restriction would not have been successful without their support.
Transport minister Gopal Rai said that the volunteers, officers and people of Delhi had made the scheme successful despite the heat, conspiracies and other problems.
No black at venue
Some volunteers, however, expressed anger as they were not allowed to enter the venue because they were wearing black clothes.
Many who turned up in black clothes, even a black shirt, were not allowed to enter the stadium. Those who reached well before 6pm were given entry. Announcements were made at the gate that anyone wearing black will not be allowed at the venue.
“I am carrying my identity card but I was not allowed to enter. I reported on duty every single day during odd-even part 2. This is not fair,” said Anju Sharma, who was wearing a black suit.
According to the coordinators who were staffing the entry gates, the orders came from the Delhi Police.
“We have been told that people could use black clothes to wave as flags at the venue and that we shouldn’t allow them in,” said a volunteer who did not want to be named.
Some volunteers, however, said they had been asked to wear either their uniforms or white clothes if they wanted to attend the ceremony.
Many, however, were allowed to enter even if they did not abide by the guideline.
A woman had thrown ink at Kejriwal at the thanksgiving ceremony held in January, after the first phase of the scheme. Security this time was tighter and only people with identity cards were allowed to enter.