Centre, Delhi govt differ on air pollution in Delhi

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New Delhi | Published: July 20, 2015 9:25:06 PM

The National Green Tribunal today questioned Delhi government's submission that vehicles coming from outside the capital were not causing pollution.

The National Green Tribunal today questioned Delhi government’s submission that vehicles coming from outside the capital were not causing pollution.

“The Centre is saying old diesel vehicles are not causing pollution, (while) Delhi government is saying vehicles from outside are also not causing pollution. Something must be wrong somewhere,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The Tribunal’s observation came after the Delhi government’s counsel informed that only 41 of 759 vehicles entering Delhi were found to be violating pollution norms.

The NGT has constituted three teams with officials from transport enforcement, Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Police to check vehicles entering Delhi at different entry points.

“The entry points at Sonepat-Delhi border,Ghaziabad-Delhi border, Bahadurgarh-Delhi border and Noida-Delhi border will be monitored. These teams shall be fully equipped with proper mechanism and inspect the age, weight and extent of pollution caused by diesel trucks entering Delhi,” it said.

On the issue of construction of Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressway, the NGT pulled up Haryana government for moving at “snail’s pace” in awarding the work.

“You had given an undertaking to the Supreme Court that both Expressways would be completed by 2017. Why have you not alloted work till date,” the bench asked.

Irked at the “lackadaisical” attitude of the Haryana government, the green panel summoned its top officers and those of National Highways Authority of India and Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation to appear on July 22.

“The Tribunal does not have a magic stick that it will rotate and bypasses will be erected automatically. You (concerned authorities) have to do it,” the bench said.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, said that most countries adopt fitness tests, including emission checks, of vehicle as a criterion for curbing pollution and not the age of the vehicle.

Referring to a IIT-Delhi report, Anand said that age of a vehicle cannot be considered as a salient factor for contributing pollution in Delhi-NCR as there are various other significant factors which were causing pollution.

“We are saying age cannot be a criterion to classify vehicles. All scientific documents we have come across say the same. Banning old diesel vehicles will have a miniscule impact, as studies have suggested they can reduce pollution by one per cent,” she said.

On this, the bench asked “what about the rest of the pollution? Where is it coming from? How can we deal with that?”

The green bench also pulled up the Ministry for not filing its repsonse on the issue of identifying “high diluting areas” where old vehicles could be sent.

It also directed Container Corporation of India to inform it about the goods it brings to the depots and where it distributes them.

The NGT had earlier asked ASG to seek instructions as to why Container Corporation of India be not directed to be shifted outside Delhi from its present location at Tughlakabad as it was also contributing to air pollution.

“The six-axle trailer/heavy vehicles, which bring heavy cargo, cause serious pollution as well as congestion in entire Delhi and hence add to pollution,” the bench had noted.

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