Yesterday, I saw a young lady driving her odd numbered car happily in Delhi on an even date while a middle-aged well-suited man who seemed very tired was walking towards the metro station.
When I went behind him, (no stalking, I also wanted to board a train from the same metro station) I saw him struggling to get entry in the metro station and navigating further to his platform.
I asked him if he needed any help and he told me that he was boarding a metro for the first time as his age doesn’t allow him to travel in public transport. I helped him but this incident got me thinking.
Why Is a young woman who can easily travel in public Transport allowed to enjoy her car while a middle-aged man is barred from the same despite his obvious difficulties in using public transport?
It is pertinent to note that this time CNG vehicles, which are the only viable alternative to petrol and diesel vehicles, are NOT given any exemption while women are allowed to conveniently drive their vehicles irrespective of the registration number of the car.
I find it difficult to understand the thought process behind this exemption given to women. Is it so that women possess some special powers by which they prevent cars from polluting the environment?
If we go by the rules of exemption, this magic only works if the lady is driving and oh my, if the woman lets a man sit in the car, the magic stops working.
Let’s take a look at the various angles of this weird exemption given under this scheme.
1. Women Empowerment or Special Provisions For Women And Children
Don’t dare present an argument saying that this exemption is given to empower women because it is not the case here.
Speaking of women empowerment and feminism, the concept intends to enforce that women and men should be treated as equals and as a woman, I feel that if a man of my age can travel in public transport then I shouldn’t be given any out of the way, illegitimate exemption.
Rather in my view, this comes across as a move intending to state that women are weak and aren’t strong enough to travel in modes of public transport in peak hours and thus, they should be given an exemption.
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2. Safety Issues
Safety is something which has been cited time and again as the reason behind this exemption, however, I beg to differ.
It is pertinent to note that metro trains have special coaches reserved for female passengers and even in non-reserved coaches, certain seats are reserved for women and emergency helpline is also available.
As far as buses are concerned, they are now free for womenfolk and the Kejriwal government boasts that there are adequate provisions made to ensure the safety of women travelling in this mode of transport.
It is the 21st century and both men and women are exposed to similar risks and if an exception is made for women then men should also be treated equally.
Folks, this is the most important and basic thing which is missing in this decision. Even after hours of brainstorming, I cannot comprehend the logical reasoning behind this move.
I researched a lot to find reports and studies which prove that women drivers do not pollute the environment. To my utter disappointment, I couldn’t find any. (Sarcasm intended)
Just a final question for Mr. CM, when the hoardings say that the efforts of the state government have helped reduce pollution levels then what is the need of this odd-even fuss?
There are various flaws in this scheme and this is just one of them. Being a woman myself, I feel elated when logical steps are taken to uplift women, however; women with self-driven cars come from a privileged place as compared to those women who find it difficult to even make a living.
This baseless step to appease voters is nothing but an evidence of misuse of political machinery and the same should not happen.
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