Open Letter to Arvind Kejriwal about ODD-EVEN CAR POLICY

Adopt an aggressive and helpful policy to encourage car pooling
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Trapped in unending Delhi traffic
DELHI
Dear Chief Minister,
At the outset let me commend and congratulate you on your bold and much-needed decision to introduce this policy from 1.1.2016. Please do not be discouraged by the nay-sayers opposing it: they are motivated either by politics or self interest. As someone who has 35 years’ experience of public administration, however, I would in all humility like to advance the following suggestions for your consideration:
SHORT TERM
*   Please extend the start date to 1.3.2016. I suggest this because we cannot allow this initiative to fail ( like BRT) for then no future govt. will ever attempt to introduce it again.For the plan to succeed it is imperative that it earn the people’s goodwill and support from Day One. I am afraid that will not happen if the govt. insists on 1st January as the start date. The reason is that the alternative mass transport systems are not in place, the Delhi police is not yet on board, the amendments to the rules and regulations are yet to be effected. Resolve these in the period till 1.3.2016 and then bring in the new policy. As they say, ” Well begun is half done.”
*  Do not include two wheelers within the ambit of the scheme in the first phase. There are two reasons for this: firstly, there are 5.8 million two wheelers in Delhi( as against 2.7 million private cars). Tackle each category in phases: if you take them all on at one go you will create  common ground for them and allow them to resist the scheme unitedly. By exempting the two wheelers initially you will also reduce the pressure on the alternative mode of public transport, as now your govt. will have to deal with 1.35 million people instead of with 4.25 million. Secondly, two wheelers cause less pollution, occupy less road and parking space. Extend the scheme to them after a few months when it is up and running and you have provided all the missing links.
* Exempt electric vehicles from the scheme. This will give a big boost to the adoption of electric cars by Delhi-ites, and may even motivate those who buy second cars( to by-pass the scheme) to go in for them.
* Permit the black-and-yellow taxis to pick up passengers on the go, on the roads, instead of restricting them to taxi stands exclusively( which is the present practice, and one for which there never was any logic). This will enable 20000 of these taxis to be used in an optimum manner: a rough estimate indicates that this measure alone will enable them to service an additional 200,000 commuters daily!
* Be more liberal in the issue of permits for autos. I believe there are 19000 applications pending; please sanction them immediately. Additionally, issue at least 20000 more permits for E-Rickshaws: these are the best mode of transport for short journeys, and are clean and silent. With more of these two types of vehicles on the roads of Delhi there shall be greater availability of public transport and this will in turn compel better behaviour from their drivers.
* Limit the number of exemptions under the scheme. Please remember, practice in govt. shows that the more the exemptions in any rule or regulation, the harder it is to implement it faithfully, and the enlarging of the discretionary space will always result in more corruption and malpractices.
*Adopt an aggressive and helpful policy to encourage car pooling. This is the easiest to do for govt. officials who are entitled to official cars. They usually work in compact Ministry buildings and reside in exclusive colonies: it is much easier for them to pool their vehicles. Please write to the Govt. of India Ministries to encourage this . Also, take up the matter with Industry/ Commercial Associations/ mega companies and ask them to procure company buses for their officials so that the practice of using individual vehicles can be discontinued.
* To encourage this provide tax exemptions for those organisations/ companies which acquire buses for transporting their officials.
LONG TERM
*  Please resolve the issue of inter state movement of autos/taxis within the NCR states. It is inconceivable that in this time and age we cannot have a system of seamless traffic flow between Delhi- Gurgaon-Noida-Faridabad. I am aware that the issue is one of revenue from license fees, but certainly this is an insignificant pecuniary point compared to the daily inconvenience of lakhs of commuters ? It also breeds huge corruption at the borders. You need to take up this issue personally with your counterparts in the other states, it cannot be resolved at the officer level.
*  Given the unruly behaviour of most Delhi-ites ( an expression of power in a city where status is determined by the number of laws one can break with impunity!), you cannot rely on 5000 traffic police to physically enforce this scheme on the roads; it is just not possible given the millions of vehicles they will be dealing with. It is therefore imperative to INSTALL CCTV CAMERAS ON EVERY INTERSECTION AND MAJOR ROAD/ MARKET/OFFICE COMPLEX etc. so that violators can be captured on camera and challans sent to their addresses. This will optimise the manpower with the police. Funding should not be a problem here- after all, Delhi govt. is now getting a bonanza of Rupees one crore every day from the entry tax imposed by the NGT/ Supreme Court last month.
I hope you will find these suggestions useful, and wishing you all success in the implementation of this scheme,
Yours faithfully,
AVAY SHUKLA, IAS ( RETD.)

Avay Shukla retired from the Indian Administrative Service in December 2010. He is a keen environmentalist and loves the mountains. He divides his time between Delhi and his cottage in a small village above Shimla. He used to play golf at one time but has now run out of balls. He blogs at http://avayshukla.blogspot.in/

1 Comment

  • Typical Brit inspired Bureaucratic thinking: “Tackle each category in phases: if you take them all on at one go you will create common ground for them and allow them to resist the scheme unitedly.”

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