Delhi to go 'car-free' on January 22: Kejriwal

At present, the government holds a Car-Free Day on the 22nd of every month on separate stretches of the National Capital

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NEW DELHI, November 22: To make Delhi pollution-free, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today announced that 'Car-Free Day' will be organised across the national capital on January 22, saying that he will cycle to his office that day. He also said that the government with the support of people will run campaign to encourage masses to use cycle or public transport to reach their offices on January 22. The Delhi government today held the second 'Car-Free Day' in Dwarka, on the road stretch between Sector 3-13 and Sector 7-9, which witnessed a cycle rally led by Kejriwal, and participation of school children, and IAS and DANICS officers. The Chief Minister said, "If we reduce cars on the roads of Delhi, pollution level can come down significantly in the national capital. "I am not saying that the entire Delhi will follow our appeal and if 5 or 10 percent of people follow our appeal, 10 percent pollution will come down which will be big achievements for us," he said. "We will organise it in entire Delhi on January 22 and I am very sure that we will succeed... I will also cycle to my office on January 22," Kejriwal said while addressing a gathering in Dwarka. Kejriwal also vowed to soon take Car-Free Day from being symbolic to a reality. At present, the government holds such Car-Free Day on 22nd of every month on separate stretches in different areas. Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that government will make an appeal to people not to use their private cars on January 22. "We will appeal to the people of Delhi to use cycle or public transport to their offices on January 22. Besides, government will also organise a cycle rally on separate stretches as part of 'Car-Free Day'," Rai said. Delhi Traffic Police did not allow private cars between Sector 3-13 and Sector 7-9 choosen as 'car-free' stretch. He also said that when some NGOs and Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) measured pollution level between Red Fort and India Gate during the first 'Car-Free Day' last month, they found that there was 60 percent decrease in pollution level on the stretch. "There were several talks about the exact reason of rising pollution in Delhi but it was made clear when pollution came down between Red Fort and India Gate because cars did not run on this stretch," he added. "22 Dec-Car free day in East Del. 22 Jan-lets all leave car 4 one day n go office on cycle or public transport. I'll go 2 my office on cycle (sic)," Kejriwal later tweeted. The Chief Minister said that when Transport Minister Gopal Rai decided to hold 'Car-Free Day' on 22nd of every month, he had two doubts in his mind. "First doubt was that whether people will participate in such event in large numbers and the second one was that whether I would be able to ride cycle. But, both doubts were cleared with most people taking part in 'Car-Free Day' and becoming able to use cycle," Kejriwal also said. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who was also present on the occasion, said that a cycle must be there in every household. "With two 'Car-Free Days' in October and November, most people, including rich, have now started realising that they can ride cycle... People's hesitation to ride cycle has been finished," Sisodia said. At some crossing, transport department staff and volunteers offered roses to those reluctant to put breaks on their vehicles between Sector 3-13 and Sector 7-9 today. Chief Secretary K K Sharma said that the government will leave no stone unturned to make the city's air clean. The Aam Aadmi Party's Women Wing also participated in the today's event. Transport Minister Rai said, "It is true that public transport is not in a better condition so that people leave their cars, but in view of rising pollution in Delhi, we will have to do something in this regard. However, Delhi Traffic Police claimed they don't have any information about Car-Free Day to be held on across the national capital on January 22. "We have not received any such information and so we cannot comment on it. After we receive official information about the plan for car free day in entire Delhi, we will consider it and take decision on it," said a senior Delhi Traffic Police officer. Meanwhile, at the launch of 'Swachh Delhi Abhiyan' in the national capital today, Kejriwal said, "Next time, I would like to see participation from other party members too." "We celebrated the Car-Free Day today (in Dwarka) and, just like all the three levels of government - Centre, city and local bodies - have come together to make Delhi clean, I would like our friends from BJP to also join us. "We rode bicycles today with all our heart...There were so many people...Vijender Guptaji is siting in the audience, next time, I would like him to join us. And, Gupta ji (North Mayor Ravinder Gupta) and Arya sahab (South Mayor Subhash Arya) should also ride bicycles with us for a cleaner environment effort ('agli bar un dono se bhi cycle chalwainge')," the chief minister said, in a lighter vein. Sisodia, also present at 'Swachh Delhi Abhiyan', was seen sporting a 'Car-Free Day' t-shirt at the sanitation campaign launch event at the NDMC Convention Centre here.