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Delhi To Launch Improved Version Of Odd-Even Scheme Soon: Kejriwal
Delhi's transport minister says 15 days of odd-even scheme contributed to bringing down pollution in the city by more than 25 per cent
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An improved version of the 'odd- even' scheme, with necessary "precautions and changes", will be announced and "implemented soon" in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday and thanked the people for their "overwhelming" support to the initiative.
Addressing a 'thanksgiving' rally on the "grand success" of the pilot road-rationing scheme, Kejriwal said the experiment saw nearly "100 per cent" participation by Delhiites.
Transport Minister Gopal Rai, who also spoke at the event that was marred by an ink attack on Kejriwal, said the scheme, in its second phase, will "include all" towards which the Delhi government has already started "working".
He, however, did not elaborate on the specifics. The Delhi Government will hold a review meeting on odd-even scheme on January 18 to assess its impact and future. The pilot phase of the scheme had seen several exemptions, including for women.
Two-wheelers were also kept out of its purview.
The Chief Minister thanked and congratulated the people of Delhi. He had special praise for Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, who carpooled to office during the implementation of the scheme. Kejriwal said Thakur's decision to carpool "inspired lakhs and crores of people".
"Tomorrow there is a meeting with different departments to understand the problems that the scheme faced from January 1 to 15. In the coming days an announcement will be made to improve the scheme with precautions and changes and it will be implemented soon," Kejriwal said on Sunday.
The event, organised in North Delhi's Chhatrasal Stadium, saw the participation of a large number of civil defence volunteers, AAP workers, and general public.
Kejriwal said the scheme could be successfully implemented as the government engaged the public in a "dialogue" instead of merely resorting to threats of penalty, which "would not have worked".
"Around 20 lakh cars used to be on the roads daily during the duration of the scheme, but number of challans were around 100, 200 or 500. This is nothing. This means, almost 100 per cent people of Delhi followed odd-even and it became a movement.
"If we had put out an order that odd-even will be implemented from January 1 and cars of violators would be impounded, I don't think we could have implemented the scheme successfully. People would have revolted against it," he said.
The Delhi transport minister claimed that 15 days of odd-even scheme contributed to bringing down pollution in Delhi by more than 25 percent.
For a pollution-free Delhi, the transport department is doing several things including introduction of 2000 new buses on the city roads by the end of August, he said.
All the buses will be equipped with GPS, wifi and CCTV cameras this year. Marshals will be deployed in all the buses and Civil Defence volunteers will be present for safety of women, he said.
He also said a "Common Mobility Card" will be introduced after GPS systems have been installed in buses after June for seamless travel by buses and Metro trains.
Mentioning the problem of last mile connectivity felt during the operation of odd-even scheme, the minister suggested that the people should use bicycles for travelling short distances instead of cars and motorbikes.
Rai said the government faced several "challenges" in implementing the scheme including a strike by Delhi government officials and non-cooperation by schools in providing extra buses.
Lauding the Chief Minister, Speaker of Delhi Vidhan Sabha Ram Niwas Goel and Tourism minister Kapil Mishra even compared him with former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri for his "qualities and public appeal".
"When Lal Bahadur Shastri appealed, people started fasting on Mondays to cope with the shortage of foodgrains in the country. Another leader is Arvind Kejriwal whose appeals people listen to and make sacrifices," said Mishra.
Forest Minister Imran Hussain and Deputy Speaker of Delhi Vidhan Sabha Vandana Kumari said people who met them wanted the odd-even scheme to be "continued".
The PWD and Health minister Satyendar Jain and Social Welfare minister Sandeep Kumar also attended the event.