The Delhi government is likely to lift the odd-even restrictions on vehicles on November 11-12 to ensure hassle-free commute on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism.
Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said on Wednesday that the government received representation from Sikh organisations seeking exemptions from the road rationing rules on Guru Nanak Dev's birth anniversary on November 12.
Originally, the government had announced the odd-even scheme between November 4 and November 15 to fight air pollution. It is effective between 8 am to 8 pm.
"We have received representation from Sikh leaders and another delegation is coming to meet us in this regard. The government is thinking of overall exemption on November 11-12 since religious functions will take place on both days," Gahlot told reporters.
The transport minister said there was no major non-compliance from the motorists on the third day of the scheme on Wednesday. Schools in the city opened after two days but no complaints were received from any quarters about any issues, he said.
A total of 376 challans were issued by teams of traffic police (198), transport (119) and revenue (59) departments till 2 PM, the minister said. The number is expected go up as the odd-even rules are in force till 8 PM.
As schools reopened on Wednesday, parents wondered if the exemption for cars carrying students in uniform would apply when they are on their way back after dropping the children to school.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that vehicles carrying schoolchildren will be exempt. He had, however, admitted that there was a little "confusion" in this regard and vehicles will be exempt based on "trust" that they were used only for ferrying schoolchildren.
Gahlot said, "There was anticipation of (adverse) parents reaction since schools have opened. But, no such thing has happened."
The public transport system will be strengthened further with flagging off of a 100 standard floor buses under cluster scheme on Thursday, he said. The ridership of both metro and public transport buses has gone up during the odd-even scheme.
People have accepted odd-even very well this time and their social media posts show they are happy that city roads are less congested, he said.
"Less congestion has also helped reduce pollution since the long idle time of vehicles cause more emissions of Sulphur Dioxide. The air quality has improved and we do not say that its solely due to the odd-even rule but it has its portion of contribution in reducing pollution," he said.
The Delhi government maintains that due to odd-even rule, nearly 15 lakh of the total 30 lakh vehicles remain off the road everyday.