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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

‘Odd-even scheme not possible in Gurugram due to poor public transport system’: DC

On Friday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the odd-even scheme will be reintroduced in the national Capital from November 4-15, to check pollution levels after Diwali and during the stubble burning season.

gurugram Updated: Sep 14, 2019 07:01 IST
Kartik Kumar
Kartik Kumar
Gurugram
The deputy commissioner (DC) of Gurugram, Amit Khatri, on Friday said that implementation of the odd-even scheme, on the lines being planned by the Delhi government in November, will not be possible in Gurugram due to the city’s poor public transport system.
The deputy commissioner (DC) of Gurugram, Amit Khatri, on Friday said that implementation of the odd-even scheme, on the lines being planned by the Delhi government in November, will not be possible in Gurugram due to the city’s poor public transport system. (Hindustan Times)
         

The deputy commissioner (DC) of Gurugram, Amit Khatri, on Friday said that implementation of the odd-even scheme, on the lines being planned by the Delhi government in November, will not be possible in Gurugram due to the city’s poor public transport system.

Khatri said that the city bus service, which started last year, is still at a nascent stage and does not cover most parts of the city, while the Metro services are limited to areas near the Delhi border.

On Friday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the odd-even scheme will be reintroduced in the national Capital from November 4-15, to check pollution levels after Diwali and during the stubble burning season.

“The city is presently unequipped to implement measures such as the odd-even scheme, as there is still a long way for public transport to effectively cover all areas and provide mobility in the absence of private vehicles. The bus service has only started last year and most parts of the city are yet to be covered by it. Even the Metro only covers a fraction of the city. Thus, implementing the odd-even scheme is not a viable possibility for Gurugram,” said Khatri.

The Delhi Metro’s Yellow Line and the Rapid Metro only cover areas located on the Golf Course Road, Cyber City, DLF Phase 3 and MG Road.

After starting services in September last year, the Gurugram Metropolitan City Bus Limited (GMCBL) is currently operating 81 buses, which ply on seven routes in the city, which is less than one-fourth of the total number of routes planned for Gurugram. The GMCBL has plans to operate 500 buses across 25 routes in the city.

“In the new sectors, even finding private cabs is a difficult task. Buses and autorickshaws are, anyway, far and few between. Hence, without my private vehicle, I would be stranded if the odd-even scheme is implemented in Gurugram and will only leave me extremely distressed,” said Meetu Sinha, a resident of Sector 72.

Gurugram traffic police officers, privy to the development, said that the decision by the Delhi government is an independent one and said that if only authorities such as the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) or the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) issued direction for its implementation, that Gurugram would have to look at ways of introducing such a scheme.

“Odd-even is not being considered for Gurugram; this is purely a Delhi-government initiative and has not been ordered by the EPCA, CPCB or any other authority. For Haryana to implement such a scheme, the government will first need to amend the state motor vehicle rules or issue a separate notification empowering them to implement such a scheme of their own accord. The matter has never been under consideration in the state,” a senior traffic police officer said.

When the odd-even scheme had been introduced in January 2016 for the first time, residents of Gurugram living in Ambience Island and those heading to Ambience Mall had a torrid time as they were penalised by the Delhi traffic police, as they had to cross the border to access these locations.

Even at present, a commuter travelling from Gurugram has to cross the Sirhaul border and take a U-turn below the Rajokri flyover to reach these locations.

“My office is located in Ambience Mall, and on two occasions during the odd-even scheme in 2016, I had to pay a ₹2,000-challan, each, to the Delhi traffic police officials for simply heading to work. Despite repeatedly telling the policemen that there is no other access besides crossing the border for a brief period to head towards Ambience Mall, there was no change in their stance. I will only use private cabs to head to these destinations if the odd-even scheme returns,” said Shashwat Varma, a resident of Udyog Vihar.

Khatri said that the administration and traffic police will keep a close watch on the implementation of the scheme in Delhi, and the city will only start making arrangements to prevent traffic problems later next month if there is no change in its status.

“We will start assessing the implementations of the Delhi government’s ruling to ensure there is minimal inconvenience to residents. We will wait until next month to see if there is any change in their stance or opposition from the Central government to the implementation. If the situation remains the same a meeting with all concerned agencies such as the Gurugram police, district administration, GMDA, RTO, and MCG will be chaired to chalk out a comprehensive plan to tackle the odd-even scheme,” said Khatri.

As reported by HT in June 2017, a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had revealed that the city is majorly dependent on private vehicles.

Car registration in Gurugram had increased by 352% between 2008 and 2015. The report had also highlighted that there are four times more cars per 1,000 people, in comparison to Delhi, the report had stated.

“The implementation of the odd-even scheme is not feasible in Gurugram as there is a high dependency on cabs and private vehicles for commuting, due to the absence of a strong public transportation system. Even, the implementation of the scheme in Delhi will affect a large number of Gurugram residents, who use these two travel modes to reach the capital on a daily basis, as last-mile connectivity is also a major problem,” said Sewa Ram, an urban transport systems design expert and a faculty member with the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi.

Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said that most measures, as recommended by the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), are implemented across National Capital Region (NCR) unanimously, barring the odd-even scheme.

“Vehicle emissions are one of the primary pollutants that cause air to deteriorate. While the public transport system in Gurugram is poor, the implementation of the scheme is important as the Haryana government needs to start somewhere. People will find ways to cope with the scheme through carpool or using available public transport to reach their destinations. It will also force the government to improve its public transport system, which will have a long-term effect on reducing air pollution in Gurugram,” said Chowdhury.

First Published: Sep 13, 2019 19:53 IST