In a tough decision to help battle alarming pollution levels, the National Green Tribunal today directed that diesel-run vehicles will not be registered in Delhi with immediate effect and asked the central and state government departments not to purchase diesel vehicles.
Under interim measures, there will be no renewal of registration of diesel vehicles which are more than 10-year-old.
The green panel also questioned Delhi government’s odd-even formula for vehicles to check pollution in the national capital, saying it may not achieve the desired purpose.
“As an interim measure till next date of posting subject to hearing of all the concerned parties, we direct that diesel vehicles of more than 10 years of age as already directed, as well as new diesel vehicle would not be registered in NCT, Delhi. We also direct the Government to take a conscientious decision with regard to not buying any diesel vehicle, whether by the Centre or states,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
Delhi government told the bench that in all the Regional Transport Offices in the national capital around 1,300 to 1,400 vehicles are being registered everyday including heavy, light and two-wheelers.
The Tribunal noted that reasonably good number of vehicles are also being registered at Gurgaon, Bahadurgarh, Ghaziabad and NOIDA which “are over and above the vehicles registered in Delhi”.
The green panel directed all the public authorities, Corporations, DDA, Police and other Public Department to prepare and submit an action plan for phasing out diesel vehicles, particularly the trucks being used by all these bodies by January 6, the next date of hearing.
On measures to prevent air pollution in government schools, it directed Delhi government to submit a proposal for creating green belt, converting the ground by grass and installation of air filters in the schools.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand said Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken the stand that commercial diesel vehicles which are 10 years old should be directed to take PUC certificate every 6 months and after 15 years they should be condemned.
“However, in relation to petrol vehicles, the ministry does not favour scrapping of vehicle on ageing or otherwise,” she said.
The green panel also directed Delhi government to take a clear stand on even and odd car plan on alternative days and for considering all other aspects which would be helpful to reduce air pollution in Delhi.
“It is undisputed that there are three prime sources of pollution in Delhi and NCR –burning of municipal solid waste and other waste, dust being generated by construction and allied activities and vehicular pollution.
“We think that the authorities concerned must sit together and answer queries raised as well as in relation to the compliance of the directions already issued which in their considered opinion if implemented simultaneously with the odd and even car system proposed to be introduced would make it for more effective and result-oriented,” the bench said.
The counsel for Delhi government told the bench that as per Tribunal’s directions a meeting was held with senior officials of different departments and it was concluded that there was high level of pollution in East Delhi’s Anand Vihar area due to various reasons.
“We were also facing problems because of location of Anand Vihar. There is bus terminal in Kaushambi and buses are parked in haphazard manner leading to traffic congestion. There is also a petrol pump which falls under Delhi and the price difference leads to long queues resulting into massive traffic jams.
“There is a lot of dust due to metro construction and lot of loose soil and the authorities were directed to sprinkle water and install Pollution Under Certificate (PUC) machines to check vehicles,” he said.
The counsel said that places like schools, hospitals, religious places, malls, residential areas etc are places which witness frequent congestion.
He also sought directions from the bench that the fine imposed on vehicles challaned for causing pollution should be enhanced to Rs 5,000. “This may act as deterrent for violators as the existing rules only allow maximum fine of Rs 1,000 under the Motor Vehicles Act,” he said.