Nishant Gambhir talks about why the odd-even scheme in Delhi is a success.
J anuary 1, 2016 brought back the nervousness I had last felt during my high school CBSE exams.
The anxiety levels were high. Why? Because, the much talked about odd-even scheme was to begin on the first day of January.
Photo source: Flickr/Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier
Although, I have no connection with or role in the Delhi government, the ruling party (Aam Aadmi Party) or any of the departments involved in this rationing of cars in Delhi, my anxiety was as high as anyone in any of the above mentioned agencies, I even wrote about it.
Why was I anxious? Because, my city Delhi was going to take an examination! An examination which many cities, which are touted as ‘global cities’, had failed. As someone who has grown up in Delhi and is immensely attached to the city, I did not want the city to fail this test. I did not want the stereotype of Delhiites being ignorant and arrogant to be proven true. I was worried that people would not follow the rationing and the odd-even scheme would be a failure.
Failure would be disastrous, not only for the political situation in Delhi, but even for society at large. The political opposition (BJP and Congress) would have a field day blaming the ruling party for the failure and the ruling party would be left confused about controlling the pollution in Delhi.
The people of Delhi in general would be dejected and disappointed, bringing about a feeling of gloom and hopelessness. Exactly opposite of what is needed to combat the silent killer: pollution. Further, the precedent set by the capital would be an unfortunate one, tarnishing the city’s image across the world.
However, Delhi did not disappoint.
At around noon on January 1, 2016, reports started coming stating that people are responding well to the odd-even rule. The opposition parties conveniently said that it’s a holiday and the city would collapse on January 4, resulting in the failure of this plan.
Delhi was not going to give the opposition what they wanted. Delhi was going to join hands with the police and the government and make this plan a success.
I, myself, was surprised on January 4, when I reached my destination in Noida, from central Delhi, in 23 minutes flat.
For a journey which usually took me 70 minutes, this was magic. I only spotted around 10 violators throughout the day and this did make me feel proud to be a Delhiite. The plan which was touted as stupid and impossible was working, Delhi was fighting the stereotype and making a point to the world.
Through the next 11 days, the rule was wholly followed by all Delhiites. I, being actively involved with the people of Delhi because of my role at Lex Do It, was interacting with a large number of people in Delhi, along with the police and the government. Their response about the odd-even scheme was very promising. The feeling was unmatched, it was something similar to what a school student feels when he sees the exam questions and realizes that he knows all the answers
I decided to compile a short video on the odd-even scheme with the help of my co-founder Eklavya at Lex Do It. We interacted with a lot of people in Delhi, we even spoke to Delhi Traffic Police Commissioner – Dr. Muktesh Chander.
The Police Commissioner was equally surprised about Delhi’s compliance levels.
The first instalment of the odd-even Scheme ended and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal declared it a success. Who would disagree? Not even the opposition. He further promised to bring it back in an improved form.
Thank you Delhi! You make me proud to be a Delhiite.