Odds Are High That Even Delhi Can Become A Dead City


Odds Are High That Even Delhi Can Become A Dead City

EDITOR'S PICK / From the pen of Jitendra Varma   /   Feb 01, 2016


Kejriwal’s odd and even effort is so ham-handed and inadequate. Like all government projects, dwelling only on those parts of the solution which get the biggest political mileage, the odd and even case is truly a political exercise. 


Saturday the 30th January was a typical harrowing experience of driving through South Delhi. Thinking that the crowd will be thin being a weekend, one ventured out for a short visit and it was a four-hour journey from Moolchand to Moolchand with a single trip through BRT, Greater Kailash part 2, Pamposh Enclave & Greater Kailash part 1 which should have taken only 30 minutes. 


There were numerous cars on the road but what stopped them bang in the middle of the road or make them crawl. Was it the large number of cars? Our myopic Kejriwal and many of our smart experts think so. No sir, it is because that public space, which is incidentally called road, is really the property of the public.


In Delhi, especially South Delhi, the entire width of the road has been taken over by at least two rows of parked cars. It leaves only one lane for the ‘through’ traffic. Add to this the Schools having functions/PTA when the parents park their cars on the road; the numerous temples and place of worship where the devotees park their cars on the road, the residents park their car on the road; the shoppers park their cars on the road; the hawkers sell their product on the road - it was amazing to see them place their movable carts diagonally protruding on the road providing protected space to their buyers to stand and buy things; the multiple car repair shops on the roads; vegetable vendors selling vegetables through their carts bang on the T-junction of Kailash Colony and East of Kailash and in front of LSR; the unscheduled work on the roads including BRT dismantling without any arrangement to guide the vehicles to take alternate routes; the Metro in the making; the numerous police barriers; the stalled cars bang in the middle of the traffic; and delivery trucks and empty school buses plying with impunity at peak hours. Add to this the typical unruly, irritable and hot-blooded Delhi drivers flouting every possible traffic rules and you have mile-long jams where thousands of ‘no-where-to-go’ cars keep spewing hundreds of tons of pollutants in the air.


As per the wont at such occasions, you do not find traffic cops around so some good Samaritans direct the traffic but till only that time when their car becomes unstuck.


Our leaders, administrators, planners are so smart yet we know nothing about smart, synchronized traffic lights. So imagine the chaos that after crossing one traffic signal when you reach the next one you find that it has just gone red for another 3 minutes. Add to it hundreds of such crossing at every 200 odd meters; add to it the law of natural cussedness – the cars standing right in the front at red light being invariably driven by those drivers who doze off at red lights or go in a meditative trance.  Probably synchronization is not in our blood. So it is difficult for us both on the road and off the road. All major cities in the world have it for smooth flow of traffic. Why not Delhi?


In the final analysis, should we remove all the vehicles from the road? Suddenly hundreds of square kilometers of space will be available for vendors, parked cars, and Raahgiri the special program for public to take over the roads and fly kites. Because if you have another stint of this Odd-Even Thingy, you would see almost every car owner buying another car to drive for self or for Uber or Ola to ply as taxi for additional income or would rush to get a CNG kit fitted for the coveted certificate.


Expecting a regime of efficient traffic Police to be present at every massive traffic snarl is still a zillion years away. The idea of having air support with helicopters had been a staple diet for all of us in Hollywood movies since eighties but we are still working on land-based primitive system to take care of an almost 20 million populous metro like Delhi.


This wild and absolutely criminal state of Delhi traffic throws hundreds of times more pollution in the air which can be prevented if the roads are used only for vehicles to move; the actual reason for which the roads were built in the first place. This our middle-class leaders with their urban-poor vote bank cannot see. They find only cars to be the sole reason for pollution. Remove the cars. And make the city dead.  


Some more bizzare options to check the rot

1.         Remove the commercial and residential categories. Encourage everyone to work from home/office/factory/workshop at the same address. That will make all private vehicles redundant in Delhi except taxis, couriers delivering food and vegetables, grocery, letters, clothes, and everything sold through eCommerce.


2.         Add more cars on the roads; ask all vendors to vend on the road; make all major roads in Delhi open for paid parking; have Rahagiri kind of public usage of roads even during the peak hours; and keep running odd even campaigns. In due course of time it will be so difficult for people to move on the road that people will stop using cars because they shift out of Delhi, and then Delhi will go back to its pristine days of fresh air and nothing.


3.         Also, the due process of ‘hafta’ should be done away with. The kind of police patronage to all illegal use of the roads should be investigated. It would free lot of road for may be traffic to move.


4.         Traffic police should be used more for traffic instead of bolstering some traffic campaigns like odd and even to prove a point. Exemplary punishment for all traffic violations on the spot for all times and not for only 15 days for Odd-Even violation.


5.         Government and Traffic Police can, in the meantime, do good if they listen to the FM radio channels to find out which roads are slow or where are the jams and then see if they could do something about it.


When is the next train out of Delhi? 


(image courtesy: http://goo.gl/BUvwMA)

The views expressed here are those of the authors and doesn’t reflect the official policy of Janpratinidhi. The views expressed here are those of the authors and doesn’t reflect the official policy of Janpratinidhi.
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