As A Woman, Here’s What I Think Of The Odd Even Rule In The National Capital

Posted: January 14, 2016

The odd even rule in the national capital has been much talked about. Here’s how I think it will affect me, as a woman.

The name, ‘Arvind Kejriwal’ invokes extreme reactions. Either he has die-hard supporters or fierce opponents. There is no one willing to walk the middle way for him. There is no one to point out his mistakes and also no one really appreciates the good work he is doing. Sadly in our country, politics has been reduced to ‘Opposition’. Thus, you may do the best work but, since I don’t follow your party line or worse still, I don’t like you, I will oppose you. Notwithstanding the fact, you’re doing something for the betterment of the people. Because, hey, this is what politics is about – obstruction, obstruction, obstruction.

Thus, when Kejriwal and his think-tank came up with the odd and even formula on the Delhi roads, everybody rushed to slam it. Across the circles, people and politicians are busy slamming the odd-even recipe even before it is cooked and brought to the table. There are debates, social media campaigns and mud-slinging everywhere. We need to pay attention to the fact that almost every other household in the city has a kid who needs a nebulizer. If this doesn’t motivate you to adhere to the procedure, I am not sure what can inspire you. Every time a person is detected with chronic bronchitis or asthma or any other air-related disease, it is a warning signal from our environment. We have sadly chosen to ignore these threatening signals. In fact, the guilt of killing the environment is not to be found in our hearts. I just wonder how people in Delhi survive the crime of killing the milieu.

For me Odd-Even have always been more than numbers. And today, Mister Chief Minister has proven, it is indeed more than numbers. This is a two week test, but I would argue and make it a permanent setting in a city which is choking every passing day. The air of Delhi is un-breathable and to make a difference, I would certainly go ahead and implement this trial and also introduce some other measures. Some argue that there is no difference in the air quality. Can I argue back and say, Rome wasn’t built in a day?

Another advantage of the odd even rule is the reduction in traffic congestion. Through pictures shared on twitter and various social media forums we have seen how clear roads are enabling people to reach office on record time. In a way, enabling them to spend more time with the family without getting stressed or stuck up in the traffic. This is the first step towards becoming a cleaner, developed city. Driving on a congestion free road, without bothering about how close the car behind is, is a pleasure in itself. The drivers will agree. In addition to this, less congestion directly means less air pollution. As winter will pave way for summer, we will experience cleaner air.

This odd even rule is sure to bring in more bonhomie between neighbours. The more people will carpool, the more they will interact. You will come closer to your neighbours and perhaps get introduced to some new friends. This will increase the social circle. In today’s lifestyle where interaction with others is getting limited day by day, this is certainly a welcome change. I would go ahead and even say this will increase the strength of the social fabric of this country. You’re of course not going to check the religion of the person when you’re carpooling. Hindus and Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, everyone will get a chance to interact with each other, thus enabling to share their lives in an intricate way. Understanding each other’s customs, being a part of each other’s festival, isn’t it a step towards building a strong foundation of friendship?

The government should also take a record of the number of road accidents occurred during the timeframe of implementation of Odd-Even trial. I am sure this number would have dropped drastically. Road rage is another silent killer in Delhi and parts of NCR. It is one of those crimes which are silently brushed under the carpet.

With carpooling, women will be safely escorted home. Their family members will always be assured about their safety. This, of course, is not a sure shot solution but, will certainly impact the crimes against women in Delhi. It is one of those indirect benefits of the implementation of the program.

What is more appealing to me is the fact, you’re never alone inside the car. The loneliness quotient is reduced drastically. Let us all agree, happiness is the only butterfly we are chasing. If a journey which lasts 40-45 minutes one way, is filled with chatter and laughs, it will make your day. You’ll never be stuck alone in a problem. If there is, God forbid, an untoward situation, you’ll have a minimum of one person besides you to deal with it. Think about the guarantee of safety it will give to your family. The reassurance through this scheme perhaps cannot be measured in surveys but, the tension free atmosphere it will create will result in reduced level of stress. Stress, by the way, is one of the major reasons of Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. Who said Odd-Even would only help in getting the air cleaner? Remember every scheme implemented has its side effects, this one has positives.

The unnecessary cribbing in the implementation of this trial should stop. If the Chief Justice of India can do this, then so can we. I would recommend to bring all the vehicles under the ambit of this scheme. It doesn’t matter whether you drive a two-wheeler of a four-wheeler, it shouldn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman, it shouldn’t matter whether you are a minister or a common man, the air we breathe is the same and thus, we will have to fall line.

For a longtime, I have disliked Kejriwal. His antics, his way of governance and the best was his surrendering the mandate in Delhi – every action of his strengthened my dislike of him. However, when he announced this scheme, I supported him. I could, like millions of others, criticize him, but I didn’t. Yes, criticism is important. It helps in bringing in corrective measures. But remember, empty criticism never changed the world and what Delhi certainly needs more than anything else is a CHANGE. Change in the level of pollution, change in the quality of air, change in the lifestyle of people.

The odd even rule is more than just for curbing pollution. It has to be adopted to become our lifestyle. If it is successful in Delhi, people across cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Calcutta should come forwards and implement it. For this we don’t need a Chief Minister but a strong will. One man has shown us the way, let us all emulate. And for the car companies like Mercedes, who are shouting hoarse they don’t pollute the environment, I think the Chief Justice of India has shown them their place. So sit back and let the people of Delhi enjoy a cleaner, fresher air.

Image source: traffic congestion by Shutterstock.

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