Not being a huge fan of IIT Delhi’s largest non tech startup, Aam Aadmi Party, I have long been skeptical of the leadership and governing abilities of their MLAs. The party leader, Arvind Kejriwal’s endless media shenanigans never really helped change that opinion. However, the recent turn of events have made me wonder that he might be the right man to lead after all.
Rising pollution levels in the atmosphere of the National Capital Region coupled with the incessant traffic jams all around the city, forced the party in power to take initiatives to improve the health of the country’s capital. The government tried to this by introducing China’s highly successful “ODD-EVEN” rule. The introduction of this rule implied that the Delhiites, and even people from other states passing by the city, could only use their four wheelers if the last digit of their car’s number and the date that day were both either odd or even. In order to avoid huge backlash, it was also announced that mothers carrying their kids to school early morning will be allowed to do so if the child was less 12 years old and mother was the only adult in the car.
The rule had an immediate impact on the city’s traffic as the roads eased tremendously and commuting within the city became much less of a hassle and consumed drastically less time. On the pollution front, however, the results were not as improved as the government would have hoped for but one cannot underestimate the fact that it was a step in the right direction. The residents of the city, however, had mixed reactions to the situation at hand. Some families who already have multiple cars in their house faced much less problems as compared to the ones who could only afford or desired to maintain just one.
The first introductory trial period of the rule lasted two weeks. Going forward, there a few problems that the government has to tackle before they can re-implement the rule in the city. Restricting people from buying a second car, ensuring similar levels of cooperation by the citizens and increasing the enforcement capacity are a few challenges which lie ahead if the rule is to become permanent the national capital.
Luckily, for Kejriwal, the people of the city rose up to the occasion and helped this rule become an odd success this time. That being said, the character of the city will, however, truly be tested once the rule comes into permanence. The next cycle of application of this rule will happen over the school’s vacations this summer. The answer to whether the city will support the initiative or will the government need to back down, we will soon find out.