KOCHI: Got a torque-filled, fuel-guzzling diesel vehicle? Time to forget it, says the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Circuit Bench. The first sitting of the bench in Kochi on Monday banned diesel-powered vehicles which are more than 10 years old from plying on the state road. Considering a plea by the Lawyers Environment Awareness Forum (LEAF), the NGT has ordered a ban on “all diesel vehicles, light and heavy, which are more than 10 years old from plying on the roads coming under the city limits of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur.” The Tribunal has given the state government 30 days to implement the order, after which, any vehicle found violating this direction will be fined Rs 5000. The Tribunal also banned the registration of new diesel vehicles which have more than 2000cc power, except public transport and local authority vehicles. The Supreme Court had issued a similar order on December 16, 2015, banning the registration of diesel vehicles and luxury cars above 2000cc in Delhi NCR. The SC order had also banned the entry of large commercial vehicles such as trucks into Delhi and imposed a cess.
It is estimated that more than 2 lakh existing vehicles in the state will be affected by this order. “We had requested for a ban on petrol and diesel vehicles older than 10 years. We know this would inconvenience many people, but we have filed the plea to create awareness about the environmental impact of vehicular pollution,” said Peter T Thomas, counsel and active member of LEAF. The sitting was chaired by Justice Swatenter Kumar, the chairperson of NGT who had inaugurated the Bench earlier in the day.
The Kochi Circuit Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) was inaugurated by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar at the High Court Complex here on Monday.
The Bench at its first sitting considered 11 cases. Five cases were disposed of, and three were adjourned. The next sitting of the Bench is scheduled for 29 July, 2016.
At the sitting, three cases filed by the Lawyers Environment Awareness Forum (LEAF) were considered and orders were issued, the most important being the order banning diesel vehicles in five Corporations in the State. In the second case, the LEAF submitted a plea seeking to ensure that KSRTC buses purchased until March 2016 complied with BS-4 norms (Bharat Stage emission standards). The NGT directed the State Government to submit details of the emission standards of KSRTC buses. In a plea on water sewage plants, the Tribunal directed that all the new sewage treatment plants should have environment impact assessment done before starting operation. Another important plea taken up on Monday was filed by actor Shammy Thilakan , against noise pollution from a shopping mall adjacent to his house. The NGT directed the supermarket authorities to make its generator noise-free. The Tribunal also directed the District Collector to take steps to stop felling of a tree inside a ‘kaavu’ at Sri Nagaraja Temple at Kaithakkad.