The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday ordered Road Transport Offices (RTO) in Delhi to de-register all diesel vehicles that are over 10 years old and directed it to share data of the vehicles that will be de-registered.
The tribunal’s chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar, ordered the RTOs of the Transport Department that after de-registration, it should issue a public notice and submit the list of such vehicles to the Delhi Traffic Police.
The police in turn are to take appropriate steps to implement the directions of the green court.
Directing immediate implementation of the order, the green court said the measures were being brought in to ensure that air quality improves as schemes run by the state government, including odd-even, weren’t enough.
The order came after submissions by the Delhi Police stating that it had made continuous attempts to stop vehicles more than 10 years old from plying on the roads of the Capital. “But they have hardly met any success,” the Bench noted.
On April 7, 2015, the NGT had ordered a ban on diesel vehicles over 10 years old. The order was challenged, but the NGT dismissed the appeal.
Dubbing diesel as a “major cause of pollution,” the Bench maintained: “It is undisputed that diesel vehicles have caused increase in the pollution level in Delhi. Even the odd-even scheme could not help improve the air quality in Delhi. Old diesel vehicles remain a major contributor to air pollution,” Justice Kumar said.
The court further said that as per the report submitted by the expert committee, the ambient air quality in the Capital during the implementation of the odd-even scheme was found to be worse than when it was not in force.
“This itself indicates that old diesel vehicles contribute majorly to air pollution and therefore they must be stopped from plying,” the court maintained.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand and advocate Balendu Shekhar, appearing for the Ministry of Heavy Industries, said the tribunal should not impose such a “harsh” order as it would adversely affect the automobile sector and the economy.
The Delhi Government’s Transport Department had earlier maintained that it did not have the power to deregister diesel vehicles as, according to the Central Motor Vehicles Act, only the RTOs could do so.
Reacting to the order, Mr. Sohinder Gill, director, corporate affairs, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, said it was time the government takes such firm steps to combat the ever-increasing pollution levels.
“Something similar can be easily done to de-register polluting two-wheelers used by e-commerce firms and food deliveries businesses. This will greatly impact pollution levels. There are over 21 lakh two-wheelers engaged in the commercial sector in India, running daily on the streets and generating massive emission of CO2,” Mr. Gill said.