New Delhi: With the AAP government all set to implement the odd-even scheme, Delhi Police Commissionner BS Bassi on Monday said the policy is being rolled out in a hurry and action will be taken against any volunteer who takes law into his hands by forcing motorists to follow the restrictions.
Four days before the scheme comes into force, Bassi said it would have been easier for his force to implement the scheme had there been "no exemptions" to various categories, including those riding two-wheelers. "The scheme has been rolled out in a hurry and as time has progressed, changes have been made to the original plan.
When the original plan was announced, at that point of time nobody thought that there would be so many exemptions," Bassi said.
He further said, "There are certain exemptions which are totally ambiguous. For medical emergencies, the scheme doesn't specify any document to be produced and the exemption would entirely be based on trust. So the exemption may be misused by many."
"The scheme should have been introduced in the interest of environment protection without any exemptions," Bassi told reporters.
Delhi Police today received a notification regarding the odd-even policy, following which the commissioner held a meeting with senior traffic officials and initiated an action plan.
Bassi also said that he has sent a list of suggestions to the Chief Secretary of Delhi Government on the matter. On being asked about a proposed trial-run of the scheme on Wednesday, he said that he is unaware of any such proposal but agreed to cooperate if it turns out to be true.
"If they (AAP government) are going to have any rehersal, we shall be participating in it...We have the capacity to respond in emergency situations. So even if we are informed in the last moment, we have the capacity to react," Bassi said.
About yesterday's tweet warning AAP volunteers against any form of vigilantism, Bassi said that volunteers can contribute to the implementation of the scheme only after they report to office of the DCP (traffic) of the concerned zone.
Bassi said that there is no confusion as far as transport department officials and traffic officials are concerned but no volunteer has the right to stop anybody on the street unless that person is endangering human safety or property.
"Only when the concerned party volunteers or civic volunteers report, we can educate them and use their efforts in building up capacity. Volunteers can be used in making people aware of the scheme at parking lots or traffic intersections. However, the volunteers cannot stop people just anywhere and ask them to go back home, which would result in violation of provisions of the India Penal Code," said Bassi, adding, if any private individual is found indulging in any act which constitutes a criminal offence, they would take action.
Bassi also told reporters that in the action plan, they have planned to spend the next few days in educating people.
Yesterday, the top cop had tweeted: "DP to enforce odd even REQUESTING GOVT: Volunteers to assist DP & to act as told. ALL NOTE: Rule of Law & Vigilantism are incompatible.
Once volunteers report to DP, they shall be briefed and deployed as per an action plan. No undue harassment of road users is the objective." Citing unspecified media reports, Bassi claimed to have learnt about volunteers, especially members of some resident welfare associations, who plan to stop people driving in violation of the policy and send them back home. He termed it as an "unlawful" step.
"If volunteers do so on their own, it would be unlawful. So it was considered necessary that they should be fully warned (cautioned) in this regard," the police chief said. In a meeting in the evening, chaired by Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai, Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander was entrusted with communicating all concerns, including matter related to the involvement of volunteers, to the AAP government for one more time, Bassi said.
On being asked about the issue of inclusion in connection with the scheme, Bassi said that the police was not a part of the scheme of things when they were conceived, but later they were roped in. Bassi further said the action plan for the scheme has been charted out keeping in mind that safety is of paramount importance.
"I may have special teams which will conduct checks at certain locations and a separate team for noting down numbers of the ones travelling in violation of the orders. "I am only concerned about one thing: When we are enforcing the plan, the law of the land should not be infringed," said Bassi.
"I am the key player in this plan. I am the person who is going to enforce it. And I will not do anything which either impacts (adversely) road safety or the efforts to protect the environment," he added.
The odd-even scheme, set to roll out from January 1 for 15 days, has been proposed to curb pollution in the national capital by restricting movement of private vehicles based on their registration numbers.
Violators of the scheme would attract a penalty of Rs 2,000. Women drivers, CNG-certified vehicles, two-wheelers and those carrying the differently-abled are among the 25 categories which will be exempted from the scheme.