Three days remain for the radical road-space rationing plan to kick in and Delhi is working to even out the odds.
The Delhi Police and the government, who have had their fair share of differences, appeared to be on the same page while DTC and DMRC came out with their plans on Monday to ensure a smooth run for commuters during the 15 days when only half of the city’s cars will be allowed on the road in an attempt to clean Capital’s toxic air.
For the Delhi Police, the campaign was yet another responsibility as a law enforcement agency and they would do a good job of it, city’s top officer BS Bassi said, a day after he warned volunteers against vigilantism.
“We have sought powers to impound the vehicles whose drivers do not follow the odd-even rule, as penalising the drivers will not keep them off roads. We are with the government,” the police commissioner said.
Police are vital to the success of the campaign, as they will be the ones enforcing the driving restrictions.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation announced 198 additional trains for the period, which means 365 more trips a day. On an average, the Delhi Metro carries 2.6 million passengers daily, making 2,827 trips.
Anticipating passenger rush, CISF has agreed to provide 500 more personnel to the DMRC. The Central Industrial Security Force is tasked with guarding vital installations across the country.
The Delhi Transport Corporation plans a special shuttle service between Delhi and suburban towns of Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon. After identifying areas from where a large number of commuters head to the Capital, the government would talk to managements of the housing societies in the areas to decide on pick-up points for the bus service, transport minister Gopal Rai said.
Twitter India, too, has decided to do its bit. From December 31, queries on routes and public transport can be directed to hash tag #pollutionfreeDelhi. Twitter and transport authorities would respond to them, said Raheel Khursheed, head, new, politics and government, Twitter India.
Challenges, however, remain. Police plan to invoke Section 115 of the motor vehicle act that allows them to stop vehicles from entering the city.
With Uttar Pradesh and Haryana police yet to come out with their plan, the move could lead to massive traffic jams along the city’s entry points that are virtually choked during rush hour even on a normal day. More than a million people come to Delhi for work or on business from neighbouring states.
On Monday, an association of private schools moved the Delhi high court, challenging a Delhi government’s order asking them to put their buses and drivers at its disposal. Between them, the schools have around 1,000-1,200 buses. The government said it has “rolled out enough buses”.
For the campaign to work, public transport, which is woefully inadequate, would have to be robust, activists have been saying. All schools in the Capital have been ordered shut by the Kejriwal government during the period of driving restrictions to ease pressure on roads as well as public transport.
From January 1 to 15, odd-numbered private cars will be allowed on streets only on odd dates while those with registration numbers ending in an even number on even days. Sundays are free for all.