New Delhi: More than 1,000 people were fined before Monday -- considered the big test for Delhi government's odd-even scheme to control vehicular pollution -- ended.
Monday was expected to pose the real challenge for the scheme, which came to effect on New Year. After a long weekend, Delhi had to get back to work and the number of violations were expected to be an indicator of whether the capital has accepted the government's novel pollution control plan.
Over the week-end, 200-odd people had been fined each day - less than half of Monday's provisional figures. This, however, did not include the office-time violations. The police say they do not pull over cars at the peak hours, since it would cause huge jams.
Delhi Transport minister Gopal Rai said the day had been a success. "No test for us, reports show it (the success of the scheme) was the will of the people," Mr Rai told the media.
The response of Delhi, as seen from the numbers at metro and the Poochho app to hire transport, was enthusiastic, the minister said. The metro witnessed footfalls of over 32 lakh. Around 25,000 people looked up Poochho - a jump of 5,000 from yesterday.
The Delhi government had made big preparations to meet the challenge.
Volunteers, including National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme cadets, have been asked to use hidden cameras to take pictures of those who violate the rule and additional policemen had been stationed to ensure compliance.
While the Delhi government said the analysis of pollution data collected by mobile units at 15 locations continued to show improvement in air quality, weather experts said lesser number of cars had no immediate impact on pollution.
PM 2.5 and PM 1 levels in many areas including Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh and RK Puram continued to spike to 'severe', according to Central Pollution Control Board report for January 4.
Under the scheme, cars with only even number plates were authorized to be out today. While women drivers and a list of VIPs are exempt, violators are fined Rs 2000.
The government has so far claimed that the scheme has been a success.