Delhi government takes on police over Car Free Day

New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai on Monday questioned the denial of permission by Delhi Police to mark October 22 as “Car Free Day”, saying politics must not derail the war on pollution.

Rai, whose government has had repeated run-ins with Delhi Police which reports to the central government, said he would discuss the issue with Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung on Tuesday.

Earlier, Rai had announced that October 22 would be observed as “Car Free Day” and cars would not ply that day on the Red Fort-India Gate stretch. Delhi is home to about 85 lakh vehicles.

“Yesterday we got a letter from the Delhi Police commissioner saying the Car Free Day cannot be organised on October 22,” Rai told the media.

“The letter raises questions. I will meet the LG tomorrow (Tuesday). All the points will be discussed. I hope personal ego and political motives will not come in the way of making Delhi pollution free,” he said.

The minister said the police objected to the event citing the movement of judges and VIPs, and the general rush that marks Dusshera.

“Keeping the festivity of Dusshera in mind which is celebrated usually after 3 p.m., we have halved the (Car Free) day. And how does the question of movement of judges arise when the courts are closed that day?

“They said their opinion was not sought. I feel that any elected government, whether in the centre or state, does not need permission from police to organise a programme. Police is only informed about it.”

The minister said a representative of Delhi Police was informed about the change in the October 22 programme.

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