Don’t judge the Delhi odd-even policy on its impact on pollution alone

What is the biggest advantage of the odd-even scheme being introduced in Delhi for the second time? Reduced air and noise pollution? Reduced traffic congestion on roads and all the accompanying benefits of diminished road accidents, road rage and parking hassles? A boost to auto sales in the city? Promotion of egalitarianism, as the scheme applies to several “very important persons” too? Promotion of volunteerism, unity and cooperation among residents?

None of these, in my view. Simply because the odd-even scheme is not the right approach to dealing with any of these challenges faced by Delhi residents. At best, this approach can only provide some temporary respite. There is no substitute for a good network of public transport. Except for the Delhi Metro, which is gradually expanding its network, Delhi badly lacks other modes of public transport that are interconnected.

Yet the odd-even scheme is important for other reasons. The biggest advantage of the scheme is the sensitisation of people – the rich and the poor, men and women, adults and children (both current and future vehicle owners/ drivers) – about the problems faced due to too much traffic on roads.

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