New Delhi: As the curtains came down on the odd-even pilot scheme today, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the people of Delhi to continue observing the car rationing measures "voluntarily", which the government claimed has reduced air pollution by up to 25 per cent. Kejriwal said the measures, unprecedented in independent India's history, managed to increase the efficiency of the public transportation system, especially buses, as congestion came down "drastically".
People followed the measures not because of the provision of Rs 2,000 penalty for each violation, Kejriwal stressed. "It gained widespread support as we took people along," he said in a press conference at the Delhi Secretariat, flanked by Transport Minister Gopal Rai and Home Minister Satyender Jain.
"People shared tales with me as to how they got used to good habits like metro and carpooling. I appeal them not to leave those habits from tomorrow only because the fine won't be there. Keep the scheme in force voluntarily because it's about out health, children's health and our collective future," Kejriwal said. Rai said that "three factors" have come up in wake of the restrictions, namely reduction in the level of peak pollution, a cut in the average volume of PM 2.5 (fine respirable particles) and the high quantity of pollutants in the border areas.
Kejriwal thanked the agencies involved in enforcing the regulations, including Delhi Police, Civil Defence volunteers, Delhi Metro and "above all the fantastic people of Delhi". The chief minister said that he found gestures like that of the Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, who carpooled to office, and other judges of the Supreme Court and High Court "overwhelming".
The radical scheme, aimed at curbing soaring levels of pollution, came into force on January 1 leading to major cut in volume of cars on the city's streets amid the deployment of thousands of traffic police personnel and volunteers. Under the scheme, private cars having odd registration numbers were allowed to ply on odd dates and those with even numbers on even dates. The restriction period was from 8 AM to 8 PM.