Pollution free Delhi – Choice based Options – An open letter to Delhi CM

Dear Chief Minister,

I appreciate the seriousness of government of the day to reduce pollution in Delhi. I have spent some of my youth in Delhi and it is not one of the places where you can even see stars during the night.

I have no doubt about intentions of the government, but remember in a democracy what path you take is also important. Remember the forced sterilization program run by Sanjay Gandhi. I don’t want to go through all the reasons that even-odd formula won’t work, my only concern is curbing “Freedom of Choice” of people of Delhi. That’s what democracy is all about, isn’t it? Keyword here is Freedom and Choice within reasonable limit, i.e., law of the land. So we need to induce general population to make that choice of using public transport on their own.

I understand pollution is big problem in Delhi and almost unliveable from western standards and we do need novel ideas to reduce pollution. Below are some suggestions according to my limited knowledge and experience.

1. Increase parking fees near main markets and office areas. Our council still charges very meagre amount as parking fees. Remember Delhi is mostly middle class population so unless parking fees bite pocket of middle class they will keep using their cars. And believe me Rs 500-1000 per day seems ridiculous, we need to have that kind of parking fees.

2. Charge FBT to the local business and corporate providing parking to their employees. I am sure it will be passed to the employee who will then more inclined to using company/public transport.

3. Apply and Install E-Tolls at major choke points during peak hours.

4. Traffic Control. Most of the jams and traffic chaos happens because of poor driving sense of people. If these offenders are caught breaking rules send them for driver’s training at their own expense.

5. Educate traffic rules to school kids. In my experience kids are better teachers to their parents than anyone else. Use kids under adult supervision to manage traffic around school areas. It will instil sense of responsibility and respect for traffic rules in young mind. In-turn they will also question their parents when they try to break rules.

Safekeeping of environment is our collective responsibility. If we are polluting it then we should be ready to pay for it. Most of the above suggestions will encourage people of Delhi to use public transport and car-pooling as your government ultimate goal is. It will also put money in state coffers which can be used to take other initiatives for pollution free Delhi.

At least it will not stop people to use their cars during emergencies or wait for certain day to take their kids to India Gate for an ice-cream during one of their tantrums.

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