Tuesday, December 8, 2015



Long, long ago R.K.Laxman drew a cartoon. Those were the days when, presumably,  the first foot-over bridge was constructed in Chennai (then Madras). People, in droves cross the road below the bridge, One passer-by  tells the common man, " If it is displayed on the bridge that it is for vehicular traffic only, pedestrains may have used the bridge to cross". This cartoon succinctly states Indian mindset. Poor Indians are more  law-abiding than the rich. You find this at the traffic signals. Most car owners, bike owners cross the red signal. They take pride in speeding their vehicles after the yellow light is seen. As the red light is on,   these rich and educated guys continuously honk their horns, knowing fully well that the vehicle in the front can not move until the light turns green. When, boards are displayed "Do not litter", we litter under the board. Where it is displayed, "Do not urinate", stinking smell of urine stays perennially. All corners of staircases of high rises are littered with red Pan chewed and spit. Lamp posts turn white with "chunna". We throw garbage by the sides of the dust bin and in most places it remains empty, whereas for a few feet all around there is garbage. This is typical Indian mentality.

Narendra Modi chose the right way of educating people in the direction of cleanliness to change the mindset. It is mocked by none other than Arvind Kejriwal. It is showing effect as youth and children are listening to the saner voice. He did not pass any executive orders "Thou shalt not litter" 

Yes! It takes time but a decade from now, you can see a very clean India just by education, not by commandments.

In this back drop, one can not understand the rationale in ordering citizens not to bring out private owned cars on alternate days. It is odd, even by the standards of Tughlaq. It is an executive commandment, left for implementation by the Police that works under the Centre, represented by the  LG. Prima facie, it looks like passing on the buck as is the habit of Kejriwal. If it is not properly implemented, he can blame Modi. It was, otherwise, a knee jerk reaction.

In Beijing too such order is  passed. But it is implemented on days on which the pollution levels reach very high. Further, Beijing made arrangements for improving public transport on such days. In Delhi, no such ground work seems to have been done.

Another factor that goes against the order is that autos and private taxis are the major cause of pollution. These vehicles are usually old and many do not get the mandatory pollution check done. If these too are banned, Delhi can close down.
Many car owners have capacity to buy an additional car without much hassle. Already many have two or more cars. This will only add to the number of cars in the city. And parking these vehicles poses a threat. Roads will be blocked with parking of cars. Even now, in many interior colonies cars are parked on both sides of the road. There is no legal sanction for this. Any decision taken as a knee jerk reaction without doing groundwork is going to bommerang. 

Who will implement the rule?. We can not expect our good intellectual citizens to follow the rule without wielding the stick. 

Let us take a hypothetical situation. A car with odd number is found by a traffic constable in the midst of a heavy trafffic road on an even-numbered-car-day. The constable, who has a duty to implement the rule will ask the the driver to take the vehicle to a side of the road. But there is not even an inch of space on either side. An argument ensues. Traffic is blocked for  miles and miles. By the time the traffic is cleared pollution level doubles. Thousands of office goers get stuck. Suppose this stalemate continues till midnight. At 12.01AM, all even numbered vehicles turn violators and are to be booked. Additional forces may be required to write challans. Army and para-miltary services too may be called in, to add to CRPF and CISF. All these will leave their guns and start using pens. Taking the opportunity, robbers may be on the prowl in the colonies. But there is no law and order police to nab these and write FIRs. They are busy in collecting fine. It is fine for Delhi government even if this continues for a fortnight. Anyhow it is not working. Nothing changes. But the Central Government suffers as they are working sincerely. It seems to be a conspiracy to derail the working of Central Government.  If situation goes out of control, Kejriwal may contact Nawaz Sharif. We know what he does with ISI sitting on his neck. This will add to border violations. Imagine the chaos.

Let us take another hypothetical situation. Family of A went to a marriage function slated at 11.00 in night, family  of B went to a pub that is open till 1 AM at 10 PM, family of C went to a second show picture 20 miles away from their home. All these took even-numbered-cars on an even-number day. By the time they were returning, it was past midnight. Day changed. Constables were on prowl. They stop all. Arguments ensue. Traffic is blocked on all commercial roads. In addition to morning time pollution, Delhi witnesses high pollution during midnight, a fist in the world. Kejriwal tweets, "Delhi should enter Guinness Book, a feather in the cap". Ashutosh writes a column in NDTV why Kejriwal is right, as it is the only work he does.

Ultimately, Kejriwal may have to take a U -turn. Before doing so, he tweets, "Modi increased the pollution levels in Delhi, as his police were incompetant to implement the order issued by me."