Need study to nail main causes of pollution: Gadkari
He says his ministry’s proposal to give monetary incentives to owners of ageing vehicle to replace them with new ones is being considered by the committee of secretariesdelhi Updated: Nov 05, 2016 21:21 IST
Instead of blaming crackers or the increasing number of vehicles for the unprecedented rise in pollution, the city government should conduct a comprehensive study to ascertain the principle polluters before deciding on a course of action to clean up the Capital’s foul air, Nitin Gadkari, Union road transport and highways minister, has told Hindustan Times. He says his ministry’s proposal to give monetary incentives to owners of ageing vehicle to replace them with new ones is being considered by the committee of secretaries
Delhi’s pollution hit the danger mark in recent days. Many people blame it on Diwali crackers. What do you have to say?
For Delhi, we need to assess the reasons contributing to the unprecedented levels of pollution — how much of it is being caused by vehicles, construction debris, burning of rice straw, etc… Everywhere, fewer crackers have been burnt compared to previous years. Despite that, if pollution level has gone up, we have to find out the exact reasons. The rise in pollution is a big concern and addressing it is high on our priority list.
What initiatives have you taken to address traffic congestion and reduce the number of vehicles in the Capital?
Once the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways – the two ring roads around Delhi to provide alternative route to traffic not bound for the Capital – are complete, 50 % of the Capital’s congestion will not be there. We are very sensitive towards the issue and have set a 400 day target for completing the Eastern Peripheral Expressway. Besides, we have also prepared the voluntary vehicle modernisation plan which proposes to give owners monetary incentives to replace their ageing vehicle (over 11 years old) with new ones. A committee of secretaries is going through the proposal after which we will take it to the cabinet. There are reports that say that 65% of the vehicle pollution is on account of heavy, commercial vehicles that are over 15 years old. Once they are replaced with new vehicle with better technology, it will have a big impact on bringing down vehicular pollution.
What do you think about suggestions to make central Delhi areas such as CP and Khan Market vehicle-free zones?
Bina scientific study ke hawa mein comment karna theek nahin hoga (It is not right to say these things without backing it with scientific research). I read a report that said vehicles are not the main contributor to pollution in Delhi. Different reports suggest different reasons. That is why I am saying that let us do a comprehensive study to identify what all contribute to pollution in the city. I am requesting Delhi government to hire the best agencies to study what is causing pollution in different areas. Only when the problems are identified can we take action.