Almost 15 years ago, R. A. Mashelkar, as chair of the expert committee on auto fuel policy, had attempted to estimate the number of vehicles in Delhi. His study informed us that actual number of operating vehicles was about 60 to 65 per cent of the registered numbers; the transport department ignored the findings. The numbers made sense to me because over the past 25 years, I have sent four vehicles to the junkyard but still possess all the registration certificates. It appears that most people never have a vehicle deregistered. Two years ago, we did surveys in Delhi, Rajkot and Vishakhapatnam to understand whether the Mashelkar Committee report was still usable. Our results confirmed that the number of cars and motorcycles actually on the roads of Delhi might be only about 50 to 55 per cent of those registered.
news and data links from Delhi's odd/even days
The best decision taken yet is the move to introduce Bharat VI emission and fuel norms as soon as possible. This will be a major improvement over the present situation. In the meantime, we must start working more seriously on detailed cost-effective studies to ensure various options are available to draw up time-bound programmes with measurable milestones. At this juncture, it is very important to remember M.K. Gandhi’s time-honoured advice: “Action in the absence of knowledge can be dangerous and worse than no action at all”.