Come every winter the flights, trains and buses run late in New Delhi because of smog. The Delhi government proposed the odd-even rule to mitigate pollution.This is not something new but was followed in London and Beijing for a specified duration during London Olympics and the National day of China respectively.
I recently read an article, that says only 6.6% of the pollution in Delhi is caused by automobiles. By effectively following the odd-even rule and the strict truck policy, the number would reduce to below 3% but still that will not be enough. Since the Government has taken a bold first move and as much as I appreciate the move I opine that Delhi requires more of such steps otherwise people might start buying their second car with a different number. Today, Delhi might have ‘x’ cars and government is trying to make it ‘x/2’ on roads and in near future the number will again grow to ‘x’ and next time it will be difficult to make it’x/3′.
In Bangalore, most of us know the biggest polluters are the public transport buses be it the Volvo or the lower deck buses. Most of the buses in Bangalore are so old that when they move from the bus stop, thick black smoke is emanated and pollute as much as ten or fifteen cars. I have seen similar buses in Chennai and so I can assume Delhi will be no exception. Government of Delhi can make the public transport attractive and introduce more cleaner buses. Incentivize people who use the public transport on all weekdays, by offering them to ride for free during weekends. Discourage people to buy the second car by doubling the existing road tax and may be halve it for existing single car owners and first time buyers.
We Indians always have the habit of saying “No” and then trying out things. We criticize laws without giving much thought. Delhi Government has diluted the law by exempting bikes. Only ten percent of Delhi population use cars and if you take out five percent of it, results may not be as effective as the initial draft. But let us take a moment to appreciate the Government’s experiment to bite the bullet in fighting pollution.
Time to reach the destination is measured in terms of distance and speed. But Bangalore, the place I live, defies the logic in that,the time taken to reach the destination is solely dependent on traffic. In a recent study, it was found that the average speed on the outer ring road which was built to decongest traffic in Bangalore city is five kmph. Even though the solution of odd-even formula is right and in the right direction, it may or may not have an impact on the problem in New Delhi but a must one for the people of Bangalore.