Odd-even road rationing scheme kicks off in Delhi tomorrow

The ambitious odd-even scheme of the Delhi government that will restrict movement of private cars on the roads of the national capital for 15 days is all set to roll out tomorrow, with the city police assuring full commitment to its enforcement.

Thousands of civil defence volunteers will be deployed to assist the Traffic Police, enforcement teams of Delhi government's transport department and authorised sub-divisional magistrates, to implement the scheme which will kick in at 8 AM tomorrow.

Under the scheme, private cars having odd registration numbers will be allowed to ply on odd dates and those with even numbers on even dates. "So, tomorrow will be the day of the odd and anyone found violating the scheme will have to bear a Rs 2,000 penalty," said a traffic police official who has been briefed on the scheme by his seniors.

Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander said traffic officials will anyway be present till 3 AM to check on flouting of traffic rules during year-end revelry.

The Delhi government, with the help of Traffic Police, today conducted a rehearsal ahead of the roll out of the scheme and hundreds of civil defence volunteers were seen assisting police teams in several parts of the city.

Top traffic cop Chander was himself taking stock of the situation on field.

"Today's rehearsal was more of an awareness drive and warm up for the volunteers who shall be pressed into service from tomorrow," said a senior traffic official.

In the final meeting on enforcement of the scheme held between Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai and city police chief B S Bassi on Tuesday, the two discussed a number of issues, mostly surrounding the exemptions, following which both of them addressed the media together.

While they agreed on implementing the scheme as decided on December 24, Rai accepted Bassi's suggestion to slap offenders violating the provisions a fine of Rs 2000 during the day. The Delhi government wanted a fine of Rs 2000 to be imposed for repeat violations during the course of a day.

In the same meeting, Rai also assured Bassi of providing

5,000 to 6,000 civil defence, NSS and NSC volunteers to assist in the implementation of the scheme.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has, however, warned volunteers against "arguing or misbehaving" with people and to focus on "changing hearts" through polite moves like offering flowers to violators.

"You will have to change the hearts of people. You don't have to issue challan or argue or misbehave with anyone. You will hold placards at red lights and, on spotting a violator, you will give him a flower and urge him to go back home," Kejriwal said briefing hundreds of volunteers comprising Civil Defence men, NCC and NSS cadets at Chhatrasal stadium yesterday.

He also urged school students to convince their parents, relatives and friends to follow the scheme.

Bassi also said it is now clear that only civil defence volunteers can be pressed into service and none of them will act independently.

"Volunteers will be only working with Delhi Police, Transport Department officials or authorised SDMs. However, no civilian will be permitted to stop anybody or force anybody to go back. No vigilantism will be permitted.

"Not only in this regard, but for any other issue, no democratic society can afford to permit vigilantism. The rule of law and vigilantism cannot co-exist," the top cop added.

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