NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday gave three weeks' time to all states to furnish a report on pollution levels in their worst-affected cities before deciding on the diesel car ban in 11 other states like Delhi.
The ongoing hearing is part of the NGT's move to ban sale of diesel vehicles with engine capacities over 2,000 cc in 11 more cities in the country.
The ban, which is currently in Delhi-NCR following the Supreme Court order, could be imposed in cities including Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Shimla, Jalandhar and Patna.
However, the Tribunal said that there was no plan to extend the ban on diesel vehicles prevailing in the national capital and Kerala to other cities across the country for now.
NGT said first it would first examine the data received from different states on pollution levels in various cities before deciding the ban. NGT also directed all the concerned secretaries of all states to submit an affidavit within three weeks stating two most polluted cities within their territory, total population and vehicle density in each district while fixing the hearing for July 11.
"We are not banning any vehicles. We have asked state governments to submit a report on the pollution levels in various cities. Let that data come and then we will hear different parties and decide accordingly," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The observation came after Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for Ministry of Heavy Industries, asked the bench not to extend to other cities the ban on registration of vehicles beyond 2000 cc.
Laying stress on the fact that eight per cent FDI under Make in India has come from the automobile industry, ASG said that the sector generates employment opportunities and any restriction on it would have an adverse effect on the momentum of its growth.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures, opposed the idea of extending diesel ban to other metros and said diesel was not the only source of pollution.
"Sources of pollution are other than diesel vehicles as well. Other sources like dust and burning also contribute to the air pollution," Singhvi said. SIAM argued that the auto body has made significant investments in the space, which would be in jeopardy and also argued that there are other sources of pollution that need to be looked at.
To this the bench said, "In any case we have already said that there are primarily three sources of pollution, burning of waste and other materials, dust emission from other sources and vehicular pollution. That is why we want every state to react. We want every state to give response on each aspect. Let that data come to us and then we will hear the matter in detail."
The green panel had directed Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal and Karnataka to apprise it about cities which have worst ambient air quality, total number of vehicles along with their bifurcation (diesel/petrol) and the total population in each city.
The tribunal had also rapped Central Pollution Control Board for submitting half-baked data on the population and vehicle density in major cities across the country. The CPCB report had indicated that ambient air quality in most of the cities was beyond permissible standards.
NGT had taken note of air pollution in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Patna, Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Nagpur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Pune and directed states to file a comprehensive affidavit stating the steps taken by them for prevention and control of air pollution.