Odd one out
Somehow, we got to the point where pollution levels have reached such a high that the Delhi government had to fix days for odd and even numbered license plates. What does that mean?
Well, the proposed rule specifies that w.e.f 1st January 2016, on odd dates, license plates ending with an odd number can ply the roads (from 8 am to 8 pm) and on even dates, license plates ending with an even number can ply the roads. This rule is presently on a trial basis, for the next few days, in Delhi.
The government has taken sufficient measures to try and provide citizens with adequate support by trying to increase the number of private buses on the roads during this period. If this trial period proves positive, chances are this might turn permanent.
A corporate lawyer from Mumbai feels that the rule is definitely a boon considering all the given factors however, if the state government can’t provide the additional (and required) infrastructure in terms of good public transport while incorporating policies such as this, then the rule is as good as bad governance.
If this is implemented in cities across the country though, what will happen? Will families now strive to have cars that sport one odd and one even number license plate?
As of now there are exceptions to the rule, for instance, women drivers are excused as are officials of certain designations. This therefore raises the question that begs to be asked, will this create more chaos instead of helping? Or will this rule strategically contribute towards its purpose?
How can a government tell a citizen which date to use which car? Yes, while as citizens we should be more sensitive towards factors like increasing pollution, the solutions too need to be more researched, effective and liveable! Emphasis on other initiatives like carpooling could be a good way to start. Perhaps banning the bursting of crackers during celebrations could be a consideration too. But telling people when to use their car, maybe that’s going a bit too far?
And how effective is this rule when you make exceptions? Although TOI reported on the 1st day of its implementation that it seemed effective, if this turns permanent, is it a good solution for the long-term?
Suchita Salwan founder of Little Back Book, a platform that showcases current happenings and events around Delhi says, “I think man or woman, as citizens of Delhi, it's imperative for us to try whatever makes rational sense to address the pollution problem. I do count on my driver for going back and forth from work, as I do spend a considerable time on the road to attend meetings. So it is pretty inconvenient and interrupts with my day. But I think we should all do our bit to address a problem that's made living in Delhi very difficult.”
Those who own cars (and along with it odd and even numbered license plates) are willing to do more towards conservation. However, this set of people does not represent the average Indian mass. The core problem lies in the fact that to contribute toward wholesome pollution control, wholesome measures that can be implemented across all levels of society are the need of the hour.
For more scoop on the story of odd and even license plates, read here.