The Centre on Wednesday argued in National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the ban on 10-year-old vehicles, saying that different studies have said that vehicles are not major contributors to the air pollution.
The submission seeking a stay on NGT’s ban order came during the hearing of a petition by lawyer Vardhaman Kaushik against poor air quality in the city.
The Union government had, on July 29 2016, challenged the NGT order to phase out diesel vehicles, saying there was no legal provision for the move described by a carmaker as a “corporate death penalty”.
Noting that diesel is the prime source of air pollution in Delhi, the tribunal had, in November 26 2014, ordered that all diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old will not be permitted to ply in Delhi-NCR.
“All vehicles, diesel or petrol, which are more than 15 years old shall not be permitted to ply on the roads and wherever such vehicles of this age are noticed, the authorities shall take appropriate steps in accordance with law,” the tribunal had said in its November 2014 order.
Additional solicitor general (ASG)Pinky Anand, appearing for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, on Wednesday told the green court that there was no proof that diesel vehicles over 10 years were the sole cause of air pollution and all types of fuel causes some amount of pollution.
“According to IIT and CPCB study, diesel vehicles are not a major source of air pollution. There is no evidence to show that 15-year-old petrol and 10-year-old diesel vehicles cause major pollution and in fact their contribution is minuscule. All forms of fuel, including CNG and petrol, cause pollution,” Anand told a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.
The ASG said that while petrol emits carbon dioxide, CNG too causes pollution as it is high on nitrogen oxides.
According to her, the ministry has initiated several schemes to spread awareness about air pollution and was also giving subsidy to the buyers of electric and hybrid vehicles to encourage their increased use.
The bench then retorted, “You had stated before us that you were in favour of removing 15-year-old diesel vehicles. Today you are saying something different. Have you ever measured emissions from a single running commercial or domestic vehicle in the history?”
To this, the ASG replied that all her arguments were backed by scientific study and would refer to it at the time of detailed hearing in the case.
The matter was posted for next hearing on March 7.