The AAP government has decided to treat zero as an even number and allow cars that have it as the last digit to ply on the roads on ‘even’ dates.
After the government announced a plan to allow private vehicles on the roads only on alternate days starting January 1 to clean the world’s most polluted capital, social media erupted, pointing out alleged flaws and ambiguities in it.
“Technically zero is neither odd or even. So anyone with number ending zero can ply on both days! :-) Loophole,” Gujju Gajamani (@gajamani) tweeted.
It turns out that Delhiites aren’t the only ones facing this dilemma. When Paris implemented the odd-even car rationing in 1977, the police avoided fining drivers whose plates ended in 0, since they weren’t sure if zero was even or odd.
To avoid such confusion, the relevant legislation sometimes stipulates that zero is even. Such laws were passed in New South Wales and Maryland. Half of the numbers in a given range end in 0, 2,4, 6, 8 and the other half in 1, 3, 5,7, 9, so it makes sense to include 0 with the other even numbers.
Even mathematician and former vice-chancellor of Delhi University Dinesh Singh said zero is considered an even number. “Zero is an even number. It is divisible by two. There is no confusion there,” Singh said.
This even-odd formula is a measure to allow only half of the existing fleet to operate in a day. However, emergency services and public transport will be exempted from this restriction.
Among other measures to curb pollution, the government also plans to shut down the Badarpur thermal power plant and take action on the Dadri power plant.
It will make Euro VI emissions standards mandatory from 2017, and entry of trucks will be delayed to 11pm. The government said massive plantation drives will be undertaken along all arterial roads across the city.
The public works department will undertake vacuum cleaning of roads from April 1. The government will also launch an app for the public to report about polluting vehicles.