Two days after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed deregistration of all diesel vehicles in Delhi which are over 10 years old, it modified its order a bit by saying that the diesel vehicles which are 15 years old should be deregistered first.
These vehicles will not get a no-objection certificate (NOC) which would allow them to be registered elsewhere — outside Delhi and the National Capital Region — which effectively means they cannot be used anywhere in the country.
In what can be termed as partial relief for 10-year-old diesel vehicles, the tribunal said apart from their turn for deregistering coming later, they will be provided with NOC for plying in select areas outside Delhi-NCR to be decided by states where vehicle density is less.
“All diesel vehicles which are more than 15 years old and are BS-I, BS-II will be scrapped and no NOC will be issued,” a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said as it clarified its earlier order directing the Delhi government to cancel the registration of all diesel-powered vehicles which are more than 10 years old so that they cannot ply in the city.
“We make it clear that deregistration of diesel vehicles shall be complied with effectively without any default. However, registration authorities are directed to start the process with reference to oldest vehicles first, that is, diesel vehicles which are 15-year-old should be deregistered first,” the bench said.
The green panel asked the states to identify areas where dispersion of air is higher and vehicle density is less. The bench said that the Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Delhi, will issue an NOC only for those areas which have been identified by the states.
It also asked the ministry of heavy industries to take a view with regard to scrapping of vehicles and the
benefits associated with it which would be provided to persons who opt for such a policy. The NGT also asked the Delhi government to respond on the issue of capping of vehicles.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) was asked by the bench to provide space to Delhi Transport Corporation and Delhi Traffic Police for parking of deregistered diesel vehicles, including the impounded ones.
The auto industry had reacted with shock to the NGT’s ruling and termed it ‘knee-jerk’. According to industry veterans, the right approach would have been if the order would have come along with the scrappage policy which the government is working on.
Even commercially, the ban does not favour the industry. This is because the re-sale value of banned vehicles will go down which will impact negatively the demand for newer vehicles.
A scrappage policy, which provides money to the consumer for the old, discarded vehicle as well as some excise rebate for buying a new vehicle works better for both, car owners and the industry.
The recent NGT orders follow from its order passed more than a year ago which never got implemented. In January 2015, it had banned all cars in the city which were 15 years old. Subsequently, in April 2015, it said that over 10-year-old diesel cars and 15-year-old petrol cars cannot ply on the city’s roads. The order could not be implemented as there was confusion as to who would be the implementing authority — the Delhi Traffic Police or the RTO.
Both the NGT and the Supreme Court have in the last two years passed a series of orders to control air pollution in NCR. The SC had in December banned registration of diesel vehicles of more than 2,000 cc engine capacity in the NCR and ordered all diesel taxis to convert to CNG.