The capital woke up to a predominantly ‘odd’ day on Friday morning – the first day of the Arvind Kejriwal government’s much-debated and discussed odd-even car formula.While most Delhiites followed the rule – especially in the first half of the day – their efforts did not reflect much on the air quality index data.It continued to be severe at some of the most polluted locations till late Friday evening.According to Central Pollution Control Board figures, at 8.30 pm, one of the most polluted localities of Delhi –the industrial area of Anand Vihar –showed an air quality index (AQI) of 470, categorised as ‘severe’.RK Puram had an AQI of 459, Punjabi Bagh 419 and NSIT 440, all considered severe. Mandir Marg area had an air quality of 333, and Shadipur 304, considered ‘very poor’. Civil Lines and the IGI airport fared better with moderate AQI.On Friday, dna went around some of the congested locations such as ITO, Connaught Place and Pusa Road to carry out a reality check on the plan.The day began on a promising note with fewer vehicles and traffic congestions.Officers from the environment department, however, said that with heavy pollution levels on December 31, the impact is likely to be felt only after a few days.dna had earlier reported that with the exemption of two-wheelers and the NTPC’s Badarpur thermal power plant yet to shut, pollution levels might come down only slightly, even after 15 days of the plan being implemented.An overwhelmed chief minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that the response has been good. “I hope Delhi will show the way to the rest of the country,” Kejriwal told reporters before he car-pooled with his ministers and staff to work.”Delhi has done it! Reports so far v encouraging. Delhiites! U give me hope that U are capable of achieving big challenges (sic),” he tweeted moments later.Those travelling from the Malviya Nagar area of south Delhi to the Central Secretariat said the commuting time was a mere 25 minutes compared to the usual 45. Similarly, commuters from Anand Vihar to CP via Laxmi Nagar also had a smooth journey.The first violation took place at ITO junction, about 33 minutes after the restrictions became operational.The offender, who was slapped a Rs 2,000 fine, told police that he was heading towards his office and there was no convenient transportation facility from his residence. “I had no option,” he said.Traffic constables positioned near the ITO traffic signal told dna that there was at least a 30 per cent reduction in vehicles on Friday afternoon. Since it was New Year day, the massive office-going crowd was missing.Rickshaw-pullers outside the Pragati Maidan metro station –one of the busiest stations–said that they have hardly had a customer since morning with many Delhiites going out an extended holiday. The real test would be on Monday when most people resume work.However, as the day progressed, the plan seemed to have lost steam. Late afternoon, the office-going crowd was replaced by groups out on streets to celebrate January 1.Around 4pm, ITO and CP were crowded with several even-numbered private cars, seemingly making a comeback on Delhi’s streets, after a relatively disciplined morning. An hour later, traffic cops were clearly missing on the roads and the violators had a smooth ride, without paying any fine. Most civil volunteers too had disappeared by then.Bharatiya Janata Party MP and former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh was allegedly stopped at India Gate on Friday for travelling in an even-numbered car. Initial reports claimed that Singh’s vehicle was not issued a challan, but the traffic police handed him a leaflet with car-rationing rules. Singh had won the 2014 general elections from Bhaghpat in Uttar Pradesh.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Delhi’s first odd day ‘breaks even’ in the end