Gurgaon: The highlight on the morning of Gurgaon's first car-free Tuesday was police commissioner Navdeep Singh Virk riding a bicycle on magically empty roads in a city where mile-long jams are the norm. And this was rush hour.
"We are motivating people to car pool or cycle to work. We have ensured 400 extra private buses, more rapid metro trips...We want to see if we can cut down on our car usage," said Mr Virk, as other policemen too rode bicycles.
Today, September 22, is World Car-Free Day and millennium city, Gurgaon, is celebrating it with the pledge that every Tuesday, between 7 am and 7 pm, it will not bring out its cars to combat both air pollution and nightmare traffic jams.
So four major roads of the city - DLF Cyber City, Cyber Park area, Golf Course Road and Electronic City - that are lined with offices and which see the heaviest flow of traffic in the city every day, have turned car free today. Cars parked here will be towed away, the police said.
The CEOs and all other employees of several companies like Nagarro and MakeMyTrip either cycled to work or used office transport this morning. "We told our employees that it was alright if they got a bit late today. Gradually, maybe, this process will get smoother," Nagarro CEO Manas Fuloria told NDTV.
The prominent Shri Ram School said its students have been asked not to use cars and teachers will travel by public transport.
The result: some areas within the city managed smooth traffic, but jams were reported from many junctions.
Beyond the photo-ops, alleged some irate citizens, matters were worse today. Those attempting to reach the highway to drive to Delhi for work reported narrow Gurgaon lanes clogged with the traffic diverted from the routes being kept car-free.
The highway, just a few km away from the car-free zones, was congested as usual.
However, senior police officials like Bharti Arora, Joint Commissioner Of Police (Traffic), Gurgaon, were optimistic. "This is the beginning, We understand the challenges and know that it will take a lot of effort. But we hope the campaign No Car Tuesdays will soon change to No Car Every Day," she said.