January 14, 2016

Odds & Evens

The 15-day experiment in Delhi when odd and even numbered cars were allowed to run on alternate days with the exception of Sundays (when all cars could come out ) and cars being driven by ladies accompanied by kids under 12 years or other ladies comes to an end tomorrow.

Opinions are likely to be greatly divided about whether the experiment was a success or not, based on the political leaning of the proponents. BJP & Congress leaders are likely to run it down as they have been doing for the last two weeks or so with a view to denying the AAP Government of Delhi any likely advantage.

Delhi has had a huge air quality and road congestion problem. Though half the cars going off the road may have reduced road congestion & traffic jams significantly and saved commuters a lot of time the air quality has not improved dramatically. This is attributed by government spokespersons to 2015-16 winter being the warmest winter in a long time and by the opponents to the scheme to it not addressing all causes of air pollution and just picking the car-driving middle class since this is not a core AAP constituency.

Both sides have a little bit of truth in their claims of whether it worked or it didn't. However politicians are generally myopic and are likely to miss the most important aspect of the scheme - that it is at least a beginning. Most parties concerned  forget that Rome was not built in a day.

The government's job is cut out if it is at all serious about improving air quality in Delhi. The most serious threats to public health are the unchecked construction activity of Delhi Metro & the Real Estate sector which leaves thousands of tonnes of dirt in our city flying about and the nearly 100,000 trucks transiting through Delhi every night. While NGT under the supervision of the courts is trying to do something about the truck menace no action on fighting the dust problem is seen

Even if these two are addressed in planned manner the AAP government would not have to resort to stupidities like banning the Lohri bonfires. 

Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, are you listening ?