The central government has refused to approve the Delhi government’s proposal to ban diesel cars in the Capital. The state government had sent an official request to the Centre, seeking action against diesel vehicles following reports of increasing pollution levels.
In a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways TR Baalu said the central government did not have the mandate to prohibit registration of motor vehicles plying on a particular type of fuel, such as diesel. The Minister cited the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to justify his decision.
In her letter to Baalu, Dikshit had sought the Centre’s nod to ban the registration of diesel cars. Dikshit stated that the benefits of converting public transport to CNG were being negated with a phenomenal increase in personal diesel cars. She had also asked for a separate set of emission norms for motor vehicles in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Baalu’s letter, a copy of which is with HT, said that as per the roadmap suggested by the Dr RA Mashlekar Committee on auto fuel policy, BS-IV emission norms were proposed to be introduced in NCR with effect from April 1, 2010. “Introduction of tighter emission norms is dependent on the availability of corresponding fuel quality, better engine technology and testing infrastructure available with the testing agencies,” Baalu said in his letter.
He said the matter was taken up with the Ministry of Petroleum and natural Gas to advance the date of introduction of BS-IV norms in NCR and 11 mega-cities in the country. “They have expressed their inability to so,” the letter informed Dikshit.
Putting the ball in the Delhi Government’s court, Baalu reminded that the state governments were empowered to lay down strict Pollution Under Control (PUC) norms if they had sufficient infrastructure.
A senior Delhi government official said that they had examined the letter and would explore how the PUC norms could be further tightened and enforced in the city.