Reg: Graded Response Plan Notified by Centre to Tackle Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR

On Friday, January 20, 2017 at 10:54:25 AM UTC+5:30, Sanjeev wrote:
DWARKA FORUM Dwarka Ki Awaaz
                                          (Regn No. S-63070)                                 
      (A Welfare Association of Residents & RWA's / CGHS Representatives of Dwarka Sub-City)

Regd. Office:
720, Pocket-1, Sector-14,
Dwarka, New Delhi - 110078  
Phone No. 011-20514195
                            No. SKG/CPCB/009         19 Jan 2017
Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), New Delhi.
Member Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA),
Dev Prakash Shastry Marg, Pusa,
New Delhi-110 012.

Dear Sir,

Reg: Graded Response Plan Notified by Centre to Tackle Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR

This is to brig to your knowledge that the existing Odd Even Plan has certain inherent weaknesses which have the potential of make it a total failure. The degraded impact must have been noticed during second phase of this scheme implemented during April 2016. If this scheme is enforced in present form & shape, in times to come, it will have zero impact, rather actually worsen traffic situation in Delhi because this scheme is inducing people to buy more cars. It is like treating symptoms rather than disease.

We believe we all want a achieve following results: "Sustainable model to reduce air pollution in Delhi by reducing traffic load & congestion on roads."

If we agree that this is the goal we hereby provide much more effective way to achieve this:

Improved version of Odd Even Scheme:
The present odd even scheme have following 2 serious fundamental weaknesses: 
(i)     Second Car: Though it is a myth that ALL car owners would go for second car but the scheme has potential threat from affluent people those already possess 2 cars or can go for second one to beat the scheme meant for greater cause,
(ii)    Exemption to CNG: It is a common understanding that running of CNG vehicles do not cause pollution, therefore exempted from scheme but it may not be fully true as the gases emitted by it are even identified more dangerous causing cancer. In long run even people can go for CNG vehicles again turning all Delhi roads in a battle ground.

It is felt that there is a fine point in the whole exercise we are missing. The purpose of scheme is to reduce the volume of traffic on road which can result in increase in traffic speed and thereby reduce of jams & pollution. The pollution would reduce basis following parameters: 
(i)     There should be reduction in total number of vehicles running on road at a given point of time and
(ii)    The average time spent by vehicles on road to perform journey must reduce to result in lesser emission.

We have an idea which can take care of basic parameters to be achieved and can also effectively nullify the weakness in existing scheme. 
It is known fact that in India despite having very low car ownership ratio people spend maximum time on road apparently proving a case of traffic mis-management.
If we analyse the nature of traffic during peak hours we find the most of havoc on roads is created by private cars having single occupant, the bigger size SUVs contribute more.  When road space is short how can one person be allowed to occupy dis-proportionately high road area causing bottleneck for all other commuters? It is not that owning a car is a crime, but rationing is a very old concept and works effectively even today as well whenever needed. So point is why can't we ban running a private car with single occupant during peak hours? Ladies must also contribute to this noble cause. Otherwise also pollution is not gender sensitive and blows every one with equal force. The scheme could be as below:                                                                                     
(i)            No private car is allowed to run during peak hours with less than 3 human lives in it.
(ii)           The peak hours are 8-11 am and 4.30 to 8 pm from Monday to Friday except on gazette holidays declared by Center or State Govt.

Exemptions & Relaxations:
(i)            Senior citizens (with I card),
(ii)           Cars with 2 adult ladies or one lady and child under 10,

It may cause genuine hardship to some but priority now is to decongest roads and thereby pollution and also reduce time for people to spend on road amidst high pollution. The scheme will serve both the ends. No one even owning multiple cars can beat the plan and there will be no need for odd-even like scheme. This scheme can be straightway enforced in all cities of India where pollution level is in excess of safe limits. 
Since there is no restriction on running the cars except ensuring occupancy people will need to exert greater efforts to look for car-pooling.  In some days, 'demand & supply forces' will settle the pressure equally on public transport & car-pooling, thereby maintaining a balance. 
There are following simple & effective measures if taken can reduce traffic vows significantly: 
A.            On Road Parking: At present the major reason for congestion in Delhi roads in due to 'on road parking'. Though it is duty of traffic police to handle this, but for some unknown reasons they are not interested in taking effective action against such vehicles for reasons best known to them. As a result during a litigation when this issue was raised before National Green Tribunal, the tribunal forthwith issued directives to ban parking on all tar roads in Delhi. However, traffic police on record has refused to follow the orders and wide spread parking on roads continues thereby significantly reducing the road space for commutation of vehicles. In addition, there is a traffic police mobile application thru which public can report various offenses committed by vehicles but this application also does not cover in its list the crime of parking on road. During a police public meeting on 18th Oct 2016 when this issue was raised the Commissioner Police promised from stage itself for inclusion of this in the list of reportable offenses by public thru mobile application but somehow TP does not want public to report this and has not included this in the mobile application so far. So our idea in this regard be divided into following action points: 
(a)           Make on road parking an offense punishable with fie of Rs.500/-,
(b)           Direct TP to include this as a reportable offense thru mobile application – Sentinel and
(c)           Pay incentive of Rs.20/- for each such reported offense to member of public

B.            Limit Number of Cars in city: Recent traffic studies have dis-regarded the fact that improvement in internal intra-city road network will lead to decongestion because vehicle population increases at much higher speed to fill the new space. More vehicles means more pollution – when already mankind is not able to breath due to extremely heavy pollution providing any direct or indirect incentive to procure more cars is not at all a good idea. Delhi perhaps has the most wide & dense road network as compared to any other city in India. Delhites are only waiting for this network to grow so that more cars can come on road. So important point is to find a sustainable solution to this problem and that can only is to limit the number of vehicle registration in any city. This idea has worked in other countries. 
C. In-efficient Traffic Signal Pattern: Delhi is reeling under highly inefficient traffic signal pattern. Signal don't follow traffic load but keep on maintaining same pattern. Be it festival holiday, morning evening, Sunday, school holiday traffic signal keep on functioning same way. There are dozens of factors impacting traffic flow in city but TP seems to be unaware of this. A whole lot of research is required to tape the huge potential for improvement in traffic signal pattern 
D. Promote 2 wheelers: A large part of pollution due to traffic is happening due to extra time vehicles have to stay on road and moving at snail pace. A few actions can lead a major impact on the city traffic landscape improve speed & reduce pollution. Since 2 wheelers consume much less space & fuel as compared to other mode of traffic, Govt. should come out with policies to promote its usage. At preset one has no incentive to use 2 wheeler as compared to 4 wheeler. These promotions could be in the form of giving them preferential treatment of road, and there could be several ways.
a)     Like keeping a dedicated lane for them on roads having 3 or more lanes so as to immune them from traffic jams,
b)    During peak hours creating dedicated corridors on opposite roads, wherever feasible, for 2 wheelers, the successful example of this is the old ITO bridge where for many years 2 wheelers used to get one additional lane in opposite carriage way during peak hours.
c)     Allowing them, all over Delhi, to go straight on a T point without stopping on red light live example (I) T point of Rani Jhansi Marg & New Rohtak Road, (II) Outer Ring Road & RTR. 
E. Break-Down: This has found to be a major nuisance on roads and it takes very long time before a vehicle is removed from road leading to prolonged crawling of traffic. Traffic Police has very inadequate infrastructure to deal with it. Procure & install additional crane on strategic locations all over Delhi. Besides, police stations these can be located on all the fire stations. Link this service with traffic police helpline. 
Hope due consideration would be given to above thoughts. 
Please acknowledge. Thanks. 
(S K Goyal)
D-103 Shivam Apts,
Plot-14, Sec-12,
Dwarka, N Delhi-110078.

Note: We would be filing RTI after 30 days to know the action taken on this petition.

Copy to: (i) Sh Chandraker Bharti, Secretary (Environmen & Forest), (ii) Sunita Narain, Director General, Center For Science & Environment,  (iii) Sh.Vikram Dev Dutt, (Principal Secretary cum-Commissioner) Transport Department,