A bit greener, cleaner Delhi

Kashmir Times. Dated: 10/19/2019 12:33:28 AM

The Delhi government needs to be innovative for providing alternate modes of transport systems for reducing pollution

As Delhi state government resorts to return of its idea of implementing Odd-Even vehicles to ply on alternate days on the roads from next month in an attempt to reduce pollution level in one of the 13 most polluted cities in the country, a comprehensive and long term plan to clean the air remains amiss. Needless to point out that even this stop gap experiment of odd-even vehicles in the past has remained a victim of the power tussle in the capital city with NDA government at the centre acting as a hurdle for the AAP government in Delhi. The police and traffic regulators on the roads controlled by the Centre have been hostile to such innovative initiatives and acted as a stumbling block. However, the experiment along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's own self tried experiment of car-pool yielded some results as citizens were encouraged and inspired to follow the unwritten rules to reduce pollution and ensure cleaner air quality for posterity. Other ministers, even those opposed to this idea from NDA-government, ultimately followed the suit and took the initiative to pool their cars and share them with their colleagues thus encouraging other citizens to follow. However, there are certain hitches that will need to be taken care of as people with no access to the public transport system in select areas may need to be given some exemptions till some alternate arrangements are put in place for them besides increasing the frequency of metro railways for transporting a large number of passengers during peak periods. Making available about 3000 additional buses on the previous pattern for a fortnight will definitely make some difference encouraging people to abandon their personalized vehicles and use public transport facility for reaching their destinations. The two-wheelers and cars with only women driving themselves have been exempted for the time being while some objections have been raised by some activists of Green Delhi brigade calling it discriminatory having no legal standing. These objections and some other hurdles will continue to plague the entire network for sometime but ultimately things will settle with strict implementation of the scheme in the larger interest of the people of Delhi.
If such an experiment is successful for Delhi, then definitely, the union capital is showing the way as per the dictum "Delhi Today, Rest of the Country tomorrow", not only for the other polluted cities of India but also smaller towns where focus on polluted air has not been done by the planners and the governments. In other polluted cities, where planning process is yet to begin for running efficient public transport system, the authorities and the citizens will be encouraged to look forward and put in plans for cleaner air and sustainable models of development for the future. There is need to question the tendency of aping the western models of development, without taking into account the population density of the cities and without catering to the massive requirement of public transport while town planning, expansion and creation of new townships. Such steps are necessary to ensure that pollution at the very beginning is checked to a large extent and diseases emanating from pollution can be kept at bay. Green India initiatives also need to be put in place for introducing new and renewable energy generation programmes for reducing pollution from such sources and introducing alternate ways and means for non-polluting public transport networks at least for the future generations. In Jammu and Kashmir, such initiatives need to be taken on a war footing before the scourge of air pollution begins staring the people and the government agencies in their faces. Public transport system is totally absent in J&K where there is scope for introduction of such networks to meet the demands of the people for commuter services as well as to check air pollution before it becomes uncontrollable. Innovations are a key to success and governments need to be on watch for similar initiatives to ensure cleaner air to breathe for the people in near future.



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