It is all odd & no more even

Yajin Bhat

With the sweltering hot month of April going on, Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s CM has been too generous and compassionate to gift Delhites another Phase of odd even, traffic rationing system from April 15. Due to this people are compelled to leave their cars behind. The ride for this formula this time, has proved to be too bouncy and bumpy. Delhi’s Odd Even rationing system has become talk of the entire nation because instead of doing any good it is creating numerous other problems to the general public. Undoubtedly, sometimes the hard measures are quite imperative to be taken, only when it is producing some beneficial results.

Honestly speaking, if this odd-even system really solves the purpose of pollution and traffic Jams then everyone is there to appreciate it, otherwise, it must be called off immediately. I have been living in Delhi for the last 16 years now; the initial 5 to 6 years were my struggling years, first as a student then in search of some decent job. The routine commutation from Home to college or from office to home was an everyday nightmare. I used to travel by DTC or killer Blue line, just one foot on the bus step holding the iron rod or standing inside the bus, nothing less than a sheep in the flock.

Somehow, after getting a decent job a few years back I was able to buy small car, which at least made my commutation to the office or anywhere else a bit hassle free.  Now, that I have a family as well, while travelling by a heavily packed public transport, I remembered those old days of struggle. As I was strolling around those memory lanes somebody stole my precious pen from my pocket which was gifted to me, by my friend it was priceless and lot many emotions were attached to it. Travelling in the heavily loaded bus did not cause me much inconvenience but losing that pen pinched deep inside my soul.

Delhi has been notorious for the poor public transport system. The first phase of Odd Even system was welcome as was considered a pilot scheme to test its effectiveness, in terms of pollution control and traffic congestion. This second leg of the scheme is facing wide spread criticism on account of its ineffectiveness and lack of alternative options to commute in a place like Delhi.

The availability of Auto Rikshaw & cab services is in place but they are taking undue advantage of the commuters by charging hefty amounts, even though Govt. of Delhi promising a crackdown on surge pricing. This time around the vehicular restrictions failed to de-pollute and de-congest this capital city.

In this phase, to avoid the inconvenience the majority public was prepared with their alternative measures, in the form of Two wheelers, switching to CNG engines, old cars etc., alleviating the problem of pollution and congestion both. A report suggests that vehicular pollution is contributing only 30%of all pollution, of which cars account for only 20%, meaning that cars are responsible for just 6%of overall pollution in Delhi.

Thus the car rationing system introduced by Kejriwal, doesn’t make it worth the effort or inconvenience it entails to ‘Aam Aadmi’. Furthermore, with the restrictions on cars people have turned to two-wheelers which have added to traffic, pollution as well as likelihood of more accidents. But one positive impact of this Odd Even system can surely be seen on Taxi, Cab aggregators, mini busses, Auto Rikshaw drivers who are minting money during this period, by charging hefty amount from the helpless commuters. Evidently, one important motto of this entire drama staged by Delhi’s CM is just to strengthen his vote bank, as he is trying to establish himself as a messiah of the down trodden. Moreover the AAP govt. has recruited the college youth in civil defense services on the monthly payment of Rs 14,000.

Most of them are undergraduates; by luring these young minds AAP govt. is doing injustice with their careers. Not only this they are made to sit on the cross roads for the whole day, when they should be preparing for their exams. Within my office also people are not happy and content with this scheme for all the valid reasons. One of my juniors, who have joined my company just two years back, is suffering with acute back pain.

He narrated that doctors have advised him to avoid two wheeler rides as far as possible. After getting a job in Delhi he booked a car just few months back against the bank loan but now due to Odd Even he is compelled to compromise with his health by either opting two-wheeler or the tiresome public transport. Another senior lady colleague, Malini, working as an HR head in our office says it is all odd not (odd-even). Her husband would drop her to the office, since both of them travel from Janakpuri to Gurgaon and they leave together in the evening as well.

During this one hour journey, they both discuss many important family issues and utilize the time and save the additional travel expenses as well. She also narrated that during the rush hours if she has to travel by mini buses, which is the replica of Blue line she would rather take a 15 days leave from work. Yet another elderly person working as an Accounts officer, has to come from Faridabad has his own agonizing story to tell, as doctors have suggested him to stay away from overcrowded places. Consequently, working class and people with health related problems are the worst sufferers.

There are thousands of everyday commuters from neighboring cities of UP, Haryana & Rajasthan for health checkups and other important reasons to Delhi and such visitors are physically, mentally and economically hit by this Odd Even scheme.  So Honorable CM, It is humbly requested to stop playing vote bank politics in the garb of odd-even car rationing scheme. It may have served your purpose of wooing your vote-bank but has proved least effective in checking Delhi’s alarming pollution levels and traffic congestions as justified by the experts themselves.

Furthermore, Govt. should have paid attention towards the core problem of strengthening public transport system along with necessary expansion and construction of roads wherever necessary. The Govt. Should also look for other possible reasons of air pollution and roll out the measures to check those problem areas, without causing undue harassment and inconvenience and harassment  to the general public.


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