Delhiites hailed an improvement in commute time, and largely adhered to the government’s odd-even number plates rule on Friday, but 203 were fined for breaking it. The first challan was handed to a driver at ITO junction 33 minutes after the restrictions were enforced at 8 am. The Delhi traffic police detained 138 people, while transport department officials fined the remaining, the Times of India reported.
"Delhi Police had challaned around 81 people till 5pm, the rest were prosecuted in the peak evening hours," said Muktesh Chander, Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic). The traffic police also fined auto drivers who refused rides.
The air pollution levels in the city remained more or less the same on Friday. Experts said this was because people burst firecrackers on New Year’s Eve, morning temperatures dropped, and heavy traffic clogged the streets during the evening peak hour. The government is expected to monitor pollution levels at six stations across the city during the next two weeks to note changes in pollution levels.
Transport minister Gopal Rai said Friday’s success meant the government was optimistic about a second phase for the scheme, possibly with no exemptions. Women drivers, two-wheelers, high-ranking officials, CNG vehicles and people with disabilities were among those exempt from the 15-day rule this time. "We are going by phases, and analysing the response. Today's response makes it clear that the city supports the campaign. We shall not keep two-wheelers out of the ambit in the next phases," Rai told TOI.