New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday banned all 10-year-old diesel vehicles from plying on Delhi roads, a decision welcomed by the state government as well as experts who also called for tightening emission norms along with banning entry of trucks and buses that aggravate the environmental damage.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar passed the order and asked all the transport authorities concerned to give details of all such vehicles.
The tribunal also asked the agencies concerned to ensure that all entry points into the city have units to check pollution levels, weight and age of vehicle by 9 April, lawyer Balendu Shekhar, who represented East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) in the case, told IANS.
Welcoming the order, an official of the Delhi government raised the issue of the trucks and buses that enter the national capital every night and are the "main cause behind rising pollution levels".
He called for the central government to ensure that such pollution vehicles do not enter Delhi.
Environmentalist Vivek Chhattopadhyay saw emission benefits in the NGT order that will "definitely reduce the pollution level" in the city, but hastened to point out the need for tighten emission norms.
"By implication, Euro II and Euro I cars, which emit a very high level of pollutants, will be phased out. But what is going unnoticed is the rising growth rate of diesel cars in Delhi," said Chattopadhya, the programme manager at the Centre for Science and Environment.
Suggesting a fiscal solution to check this rise, he called for increasing the tax on diesel and advocated for switching to Bharat IV emission norms sooner than the proposed time frame of 2024.
"We can't further delay the implementation of the next stage of emission norms here. The more we delay, then what about the new cars that will come on road between now and 2024?" he asked. questioned.
The current share of diesel cars in Delhi is about 45 percent, where one diesel car is equal to about seven petrol cars, Chhattopadhyay noted, adding that this gap must be closed with tighter emission norms and equal taxation for both fuels.
Appreciating the move made by the green panel, Sumit Sharma, fellow, earth science and climate change at TERI, whoever drew upon the logistical hurdles in enforcing the order.
He said the real challenge lay in identifying the age of the vehicles registered with the Delhi transport authority.
"The check post at the Delhi border can check the vehicles crossing into the city. But how do we check the ones that are already plying on the city roads," he wondered.
Echoing the sentiment, the Delhi government official said equally harmful are the old vehicles registered in the city while garbage burning in the open and the construction dust alos feed the scourge of pollution.
Meanwhile, the EDMC lawyer said the bench, giving example of other countries across the globe, said that as they are in the process of prohibiting or have prohibited diesel vehicles by imposing very heavy taxes, it (the NGT) also must take measures to ensure good air quality for residents in and around Delhi.
The bench also passed strict orders against any illegal construction activity in and around Delhi.
The tribunal had, late last year, banned petrol vehicles over 15 years old in the national capital.
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Updated Date: Apr 08, 2015 10:02:31 IST