Days away from 'odd-even' experiment; police, govt embroiled in sparring

| Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 15:57
First Published |
New Delhi: Days ahead of the odd-even scheme's trial on the capital's roads, the acrimony between the Delhi government and Delhi Police came to the fore again with both sides slamming each other, and threatening to jeopardise the ambitious road rationing scheme success.
Hours after Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi cautioned Aam Aadmi Party volunteers against any form of vigilantism during the 15-day odd-even car scheme to combat pollution, Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai hit out at the police chief, asking him to stop talking like a BJP spokesperson.
Unveiling the traffic rationing formula which allows private cars with odd-numbered registration number on odd-numbered dates and vice-versa, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that 10,000 civil defence volunteers will be deployed by the city government for the purpose.
"About 10,000 NCC and NSS volunteers will offer roses to violators," Kejriwal had said.
However, Bassi, whose cooperation was sought by the Kejriwal government in making the scheme a success, told the volunteers not to act on their own and stop motorists as it was a crime.
"DP (Delhi Police) to assist odd-even to protect environment. Volunteers not to act on their own. Even stopping or asking someone to return is an IPC crime," Bassi said in a tweet.
"If the (AAP) volunteers want to provide their service, they should come to us (Delhi Police). Once volunteers report to police, they shall be briefed and deployed as per an action plan," he told reporters later.
Reacting sharply to the remarks, Rai said Bassi was ill-informed and was politicising the issue.
"B.S. Bassi has said that AAP volunteers do not interfere in the odd-even programme. He should not speak as the spokesperson of some party," Rai said in a oblique reference to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"They are not Aam Aadmi Party volunteers, they are civil defence volunteers paid by the government. Please do not mislead people," he said.
The minister said that volunteers are already trained and will be deployed to persuade people and not to stop them.
"They will give roses to violators at the traffic intersection and will not stop them in their way," Rai told reporters at a press briefing here.
The minister said that while the city government had authorised Delhi Police to penalise the violators, he urged them to not play spoil-sport, noting in the last car-free day in east Delhi, police had stopped even auto rickshaws and buses from entering the designated zone which had caused inconvenience to people.
The Delhi government and Delhi Police have been at loggerheads with each other. Kejriwal has accused Delhi Police, which reports to the union home ministry, of acting at the behest of BJP-led central government.
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