Odd-even scheme: Violators greeted with roses (Lead, superseding earlier version)

New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) Motorists who flouted the odd-even vehicle restriction policy implemented here on a 15-day trial basis were on Friday offered a rose, while some of them were counselled about the rising pollution levels.

At many traffic intersections, civil defence volunteers assisted Delhi Police personnel in keeping a tab on vehicles.

The odd-even scheme that allows odd and even-numbered private vehicles to ply on the city roads on alternate days aims at reducing air pollution levels. The scheme started here on Friday on a trial basis and will end on January 15.

There were no police barricades near the Delhi-Noida border in the morning and the volunteers tried to ensure a smooth flow of traffic on the road. The volunteers, however, flagged down a few even-numbered four-wheelers and went up to the driver and, in true Gandhian spirit, presented a rose.

They also counselled the motorists to follow the Delhi government’s odd-even plan and asked them to return. While some vehicle owners followed the instructions, others gave their reasons for not being able to comply with the plan.

Shiv Kumar Sharma, a civil defence volunteer from Geeta Colony in east Delhi, said his group was able to persuade some motorists to turn back. “We are here since 7 a.m. We are giving roses to people and counselling them about the odd-even formula. So far, we have persuaded around a dozen people to turn back,” he said.

“Some people said they were going to hospital or there was an emergency. We did let them go.”

The roses were provided by the area district magistrate’s office.

Another civil defence volunteer, who did not wish to be named, said his group refrained from entering into any argument with the violators and requested them to comply with the rule.

“We cannot prosecute people. The police will do that,” he said, adding that the police were cooperating with them.

There were a few commuters who stopped by to cheer the volunteers. “This is a very good initiative. The volume of traffic has come down,” said Dinesh Singhal, a biker.

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