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New Delhi: Contrary to apprehensions, Delhi's odd-even vehicle scheme aimed at battling pollution did not lead to the feared problems on Monday, the first full working day of the new year, the government said.
"We are glad that people are following the rule," said Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai, who took a bus ride from Delhi Secretariat and back via Delhi Gate, Connaught Place, Patel Chowk and ITO.
"There were speculations and doubts about what would happen on Monday when all the offices open. Some people feared that public transport may be overcrowded today (Monday) or there may be violations by drivers, but we have not noticed any such thing," the minister added.
The minister spoke with a few commuters at the Patel Chowk metro station in the heart of the capital to know if people were facing any problems.
"On the basis of the feedback I got, I can say that people are not facing any problem so far," Rai said.
The 15-day odd-even scheme started on January 1 and aims to put odd numbered vehicles on the roads on odd dates and even numbered vehicles on even dates.
This takes effect daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. except on Sundays when the scheme is not operational.
But the scheme has many exceptions including a string of VIPs, CNG-driven public transport, cars driven by women, two-wheelers and emergency vehicles.
Although many odd numbered cars were spotted on the roads on Monday, running on CNG or driven by women, the roads were still less crowded in the morning.
Many regular Delhi Metro commuters did not find the metro extraordinarily crowded either.
"I found the Metro a bit more crowded than usual but it was not unmanageable as I was fearing it would be," said Adnan Ali, who travels to work from Chandni Chowk to Noida City Centre.
But the situation was different on the Metro Violet Line which has only four-coach trains.
"It was very crowded at Mandi House station. I had to jostle to get into the train and almost fell down as the crowd pushed me from behind," complained Shweta Arya, who works with a private firm in Nehru Place.