Truckers’ associations have threatened to stop transporting goods in and out of the Capital if the green court order banning on diesel vehicles in Delhi is not modified to give them certain relaxations.
“We all want to help the government to curb pollution but why should it come at the cost of someone’s livelihood? Delhi’s pollution is not a problem that has cropped up overnight. There are other more hazardous practices in the city going unchecked,” said Navin Gupta, general secretary, All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).
The association claims to have 87 lakh trucks and 20 lakh buses and tempos across the country under its fold.
Last year, the strike after the first order affected supply of goods in Delhi for five days, causing a loss of almost R 30,000 crores to the government.
No time to break even
A major chunk of truckers comprise small owners who own only a couple of new and/or used vehicles. These truckers are at a loss as the usual time to break even after paying off their vehicle loan is at least 10 years.
“It is only after that the owner starts earning. At present, I own three second-hand and one new truck. According to this order, by the time I finish paying off the instalments for the new truck, I will have to sell it,” said Mahesh Yadav, owner of Mahadev Truckers in south Delhi’s Munirka.
At present, there are 89,937 goods carrier vehicles registered in Delhi older than 10 years. The registration certificate for any vehicle is issued for 15 years and is extended based on the fitness of the vehicle.
“If I have a document permitting me to drive my vehicle for 15 years, then why should I be stopped and bear any loss?” said Yadav.
Demand for engine retrofits
Sunil Sharma from the Delhi Truckers Association (DTA) said the government should give truckers an alternative to replace their engines after 10 years instead of banning them.
“The engines cause pollution so there should be a rule to replace them after the 10-year period. Instead of replacing a truck costing around R 25-30 lakh, owners will be more comfortable with a retrofit worth R 2-3 lakh,” Sharma said.
Delhi registered AITP vehicles
Vehicles with All India Tourist Permits (AITP) registered in Delhi will suffer because of the order, transporters said.
“No CNG is available outside Delhi and though our trucks are registered here, most of our operations are spread across the country. There should be some relaxation for us. Other trucks can go to their destinations without touching Delhi but what will we do?,” said Sukhbeer Singh, a trucker from north Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh.