Third car-free day held in Delhi

New Delhi: The national capital today observed its third 'car-free day' in as many months but the first one on a weekday as Delhi government gears up to roll out the odd-even restriction on the movement of cars in order to ensure clean air in the city.

The exercise aimed at encouraging people to use public transport in order to control air pollution saw participation of thousands of people, including schoolchildren and women.

A cycle rally as part of the initiative was organised on the route from Laxmi Nagar Metro station to Poorva Sanskritik Kendra via Karkari Modh bridge starting at 8 am.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who attended the event, rode on a bicycle and appealed to the people to take to bicycle-riding as a way of ensuring the success of the odd-even number scheme.

"As pollution is increasing in Delhi, people should opt for public transport. I appeal to the people of Delhi to make the odd-even number scheme a success," said Sisodia, who also relaunched the Poocho app ahead of the launch of the odd-even scheme on January 1.

The app will allow commuters to use their smartphones to book autos and taxis. It enables autorickshaws and taxis with GPS to connect to a common server. There are around 80,000 autorickshaws and 30,000 taxis plying in the national capital. Sisodia said that people can call the number 9311900800 for any queries related to the functioning of the app.

The next car-free day will be organised near Delhi University in north Delhi, Transport Minister Gopal Rai said at the event.

"The first and the second car-free days were holidays, but today is a working day and this is a busy road. So, it was a challenge for us. But Delhiites have proved that be it Sunday or Monday, it doesn't matter, they are ready to fight against pollution," Rai said. He further said that on December 24, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will hold a press conference to present the blueprint for the implementation of the odd-even number scheme.

Meanwhile, referring to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's defamation suit against Kejriwal and five AAP leaders over the DDCA controversy, Rai said, "Delhi government is fighting against a lot of dishonest people. We are not scared of defamation. We will fight on the streets and in courts to eradicate corruption. We will not accept defeat."

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