December 31, 2015: AS Delhi prepares to herald the New Year with its odd-even car number plate formula, a dry run conducted on Thursday morning turned out to be a damp squib in some places because of the failure of volunteers to turn up.
From Friday, motorists in Delhi will have to use cars with an odd number plate on odd days and even numbers on even days. The scheme, aimed at curbing the high pollution levels in the metropolis during the winter months, will be tried on an experimental basis for a fortnight between 8 am and 8 pm. It would not be operational on Sundays.
On Thursday, the Delhi government conducted a trial run at 200 points on various roads between 9 am and 11 am. The government took the help of civil defence officials and members of the National Cadet Corps and the National Service Scheme, besides employees of the transport department and police officials.
According to Gopal Rai, Delhi’s transport minister, the dry run was held to create awareness about the new odd-even formula. The Delhi government is also pressing into services hundreds of additional buses during the fortnight and Delhi Metro is also boosting its services.
There has been some tension between the Aam Aadmi Party-led state government and the Delhi Police, which reports directly to the union home ministry. Police commissioner B.S. Bassi had a few days ago warned that the force would not tolerate ‘vigilantism’ on the part of AAP volunteers trying to enforce the new rule on their own.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues lashed out at Bassi, accusing him of acting at the behest of the BJP government at the centre.