NGT rule may drive 5.5L vehicles off roads
BENGALURU: Of the more than 61 lakh vehicles plying in the city, 5.5 lakh (9 per cent) of vehicles are more than 15 years old, according to records of the transport department. This means these old vehicles will go off the roads if the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order banning vehicles above 15 years old is extended to Bengaluru.
Of the 5.55 lakh vehicles that are more than 15 years old, two-wheelers constitute the most with 2.58 lakh followed by private cars (1.78 lakh), autorickshaws (36,173) and 21,371 four-wheelers (light goods vehicle). Records also show that 1,070 buses of educational institutions and 8,180 taxis are more than 15 years old and continue to ply in the city, raising security and pollution concerns.
The NGT had asked the Delhi government to ban vehicles above 15 years old in a move to curb rising pollution levels. However, the Centre challenged the order saying that baning vehicles that are above 15 years old is the ‘contravention’ of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Centre is now planning to implement more stringent BS-VI emission norms for vehicles by 2020 to reduce pollution levels.
Air pollution, in large part, is caused by fine particulate fuel emissions and 15-year-old vehicles tend to process fuel inefficiently, leading to higher pollution. A N Yellappa Reddy, noted environmentalist, said there should be a complete ban on vehicles above 15 years old in the city.
“High emissions from old vehicles have been a major cause for the alarming pollution levels. The NGT order is relevant to Bengaluru.”
Transport officials said vehicle owners have to renew their registration certificate when their vehicles complete 15 years. “We charge `250 for two-wheelers and `500 for LMVs in terms of green tax. We also check the fitness and emission levels of the vehicle when they bring it to renew the registration,” said an official of the transport department.
He said vehicles registered before the implementation of BS (Bharat Stage) emission control standards are causing more pollution than new vehicles.
Many motorists say a blanket ban on vehicles above 15 years old is not feasible.
“The government should check the fitness of a vehicle, not the age, as a criterion to scrap a vehicle. Many people have vintage cars that are more efficient than new vehicles. It is impossible to scrap such vehicles,” said Vasudeva Varma who owns a 10-year-old car.
In an environment-friendly move, the Karnataka High Court had asked the BMTC to introduce CNG buses. However, BMTC says that CNG buses are three times the cost of diesel ones and operational cost is also higher.