Frailty, thy name is woman! Shakespeare said it centuries ago in a Tudor England set up. It seems to resonate in the 21st century India, in the mind of the very ‘desi’ Delhi male, as he witnesses the privilege of ladies who were exempted from the even-and-odd ‘number plate’ ordeal and freely drove on the streets of Delhi; for simply being women. The men tried figuring out fifteen-day travel plans if they were not lucky enough to have two cars, one with even and the other with odd number plates. Carpool, ride share and before and after eight; all side plans emerged from necessity.
No matter how odd it may seem, the objective of introducing the even and odd scheme with the larger vision of reducing pollution drastically from the capital city of Delhi was indeed a philanthropic effort. The pollution index is indeed high, therefore, common ailment of the people of Delhi are that of asthma, lungs and tracheal infections, cough, headaches and migraine. Despite all the criticism, the odd-even scheme began on a positive note on 1st January as there were few violators and the scheme was implemented peacefully across Delhi.
After the implementation of the scheme, many experts also said that the scheme had, in fact, worked. They opined that less congestion in Delhi owing to the scheme was shielding people from “direct exposure” to pollutants, especially in and around areas of high car density such as traffic junctions.
The trial period of 15 days seem to have mixed reactions from the people of Delhi and they are yet to figure the feasibility in the long run.
“I have been driving in Delhi for the last 25 years and I am overjoyed to see how empty the roads look with this odd-and-even number scheme. There are lesser traffic jams on the road and going to office doesn’t seem as challenging as it used to be. I hope they are able to sustain the initiative in the long run”. Monica Kubba, General Manager- India Today.
“I feel that the even-odd initiative is another toy in the hands of government. When we talk of reducing pollution, the approach is more of ‘putting the cart before the horse’ as we tend to overlook the core issues. Delhi has so much of chemical waste, if we just look at the Yamuna while driving past, one doesn’t need to explain further. Pollution check for larger vehicles are equally necessary. I am not sure how much that is being tracked. One often see the truckers bribing past the check points. The fuel check needs to be more stringent even for small and medium vehicles. CNG may not be only solution. The countries abroad have a far better public transport network and also safety. Delhi is so unsafe and one is often stranded for hours waiting for cabs.” Nidhi Singh, Managing Director at HD Infomatrix Solutions Pvt Ltd
“Frankly speaking, the concept seems pretty lofty. The scheme would have made a difference had people like us started using public transport and which did not happen. The over-all transport system and safety needs to be improved before we implement something like this. To my mind it is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse,” Sangeeta Sen, Co- promoter at Crestra Communication Pvt. Ltd.
The scheme came and went by and Delhites are awaiting the next phase of pollution measure. While all is well, women are not the least apprehensive of the situation. Whatever happens, the government will not wish to get into a situation knowing that safety and security is an endless issue for the Delhi-woman and, therefore, ladies will not be Guinea pigs of any such experiments.