Dear 21st century humans,
Odds and evens. Come the New Year, amongst all the hype and hoola around another year, we have the Delhi Government set to tackle it’s major new year resolution: reducing the air pollution of the city.
The Chief Minister Mr. Arvind Khejriwal has come up with a policy of allowing cars with odd-numbered plates to run on odd dates, and even-numbered plates to run on even dates.
This method is a replication of the format used in Beijing, and something that was attempted in Mexico City to control traffic.
Will this work?
I’m a little sceptical. First of all, this policy in itself has so many exceptions and conditions. Here are some of them-
1. This rule is applicable only from 8 AM to 8 PM.
2. Women who are alone in cars are exempted from this rule.
3. In a medical emergency, you are exempted from this rule.
4. 2-wheelers are also exempted from this rule (what?!).
And so on…
In effect, with all these exceptions, I don’t think the number of vehicles on the road are drastically going to decrease. I understand that these exceptions are made in good faith, but they are still, exceptions.
And the thing with India, and especially Delhi is that we know how to bend the rules (or “Jugaad”, if you prefer). What’s to stop a family from buying a second car with the opposite number plate so that they drive hassle free around the city everyday, for instance?
Also, the rules need to take schools into consideration. School cabs are a major mode of transportation for kids to and from homes. Are they exempted too? What about school buses?
Some kids I know came up with an interesting solution; let kids go to school on odd dates, and teachers go to school on even dates. Now that’s imagination 😉
These are some of the hard questions that the Delhi government needs to answer. Yes, the need to fix the air pollution problem is immediate. But the solution needs to be well thought out and should have to consider the diverse population of the city.
I do applaud the Delhi government for acknowledging the problem, and I certainly expect an improved scheme after this 15 days trial period.
To get a detailed list of rules on this scheme, please visit:
A concerned but optimistic human.