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After odd success, Delhi on even keel

The most flabbergasting yet almost unreal thing happened on the second day of the new calendar too after Delhi went even on January 2. Against many odds, the national Capital, in its attempt to get even with its notorious pollution, rolled out even-numbered cars on Saturday, marking its second consecutive success after January 1, the first day of implementation of the odd-even scheme started by the Delhi government.  

The compliance on the streets was extra-ordinary and very heartening. The picture of a more responsible and conscious Delhi came to the forefront. Across the city, including major arteries in Central Delhi, people followed traffic regulations, with Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia leading the pack and cycling down to office. Sisodia, whose car bears an odd registration number, cycled to the All-India Radio office at 8.30 am from his residence and then pedalled down to Delhi Secretariat after taking part in a radio show there.

Transport Minister Gopal Rai took a bus ride to take stock of the situation and spoke to volunteers deployed on the roads tasked with handing over roses to errant motorists. “Two days trials show that people of Delhi are ready for it,” he said. Across the city, including at major arteries in central Delhi, traffic police were seen stopping violators. A total of 276 violators were challaned by traffic and the city’s transport department as opposed to Friday’s 203.

A thousand more traffic police personnel were deployed on second day of the odd-even scheme even as more volunteers came out in the streets encouraging Delhiites to support the Delhi government’s ambitious drive to curb air pollution and vehicular congestion in the city.

‘Marked pollution drop this New Year’
After the national Capital opted for a test run of the odd-even scheme, pollution levels on New Year day showed a “marked” decrease compared with the previous year, the Delhi government said on Saturday.

The ambient air data collected by mobile dust samplers on January 1 showed that the PM 2.5 (particulate matter suspended in air with diameter less than 2.5 microns) levels ranged between 121 and 226 at all 24 locations, a government statement said. 

The mobile units of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) collected this data, after monitoring each of the 24 locations for 20 minutes each. The PM 2.5 levels at the corresponding time on January 1, 2015, hovered around 250 across Delhi, the government said, adding “air pollution levels within Delhi city are showing a decreasing trend”.

PM 2.5 are the particulate matter capable of causing harm to human respiration, if present above permissible levels. DPCC prescribes 60 units of PM 2.5 levels as the standard level. Areas like Rohtas Nagar, Patparganj and Kondli bordering UP showed higher air pollution levels compared to areas towards Central Delhi, the government said. 
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