NEW DELHI: In a move to improve the deteriorating air quality in the national capital, the National Green Tribunal on Monday directed the Delhi government to cancel the registration of all diesel-powered vehicles which are more than 10 years old from plying with immediate effect.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar ordered the Regional Transport Office (RTO) of the Transport Department in Delhi to issue a public notice in this regard and supply the list of such vehicles to police, which would take appropriate steps in consonance with the tribunal’s directions.
According to sources, the automobile industry is planning to move the Supreme Court against the order. Expressing concern over the deteriorating air quality in Delhi, the tribunal observed, “Even during odd-even scheme initiated by the Delhi government, the ambient air quality did not improve and in fact, the parameters remained on the higher side more than the permissible limits.”
“We are of the considered view that there is no occasion for the tribunal to set aside April 7, 2015 order which prohibited the plying of diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old on the roads in Delhi-NCR, we hereby direct the RTO to deregister all diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old,” the bench said.
Additional Solicitor-General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Department of Heavy Industries, said that the tribunal should not impose such a harsh order as it would adversely affect the automobile sector and the economy.
She said said that an impression had been created about the diesel fuel that it was more polluting even though other fuels were also causing pollution.
“Private vehicle owners have already paid a 15-year tax on all vehicles. Asking them not to use the vehicles after 10 years is therefore completely unjustified and may lead to other PILs for the refund of road tax which has already been paid by the owners,” she said, adding that ban should be applicable only to 15-year-old vehicles.
Noting the submissions, the bench directed the department to file an affidavit giving the status of electric and hybrid vehicles in the country and also mention what benefits the department was considering to offer those who wish to dispose of their old vehicles.
It also ordered the department to write a letter to the chief secretaries of all the states within one week in this regard.
On April 7, 2015 the National Green Tribunal held that all diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old will not be permitted to ply in Delhi and the National Capital Rrgion. Later, on November 26, 2014, the tribunal banned all diesel or petrol vehicles which were more than 15 years old from Delhi roads.