Karan Sharma, 28, wakes up early everyday and religiously steps out of his house. Not to breathe in the fresh (or in Delhi's case, polluted) morning air, but to check on his much-loved car.
Sharma had bought his second hand diesel car three years ago. In another year’s time, his car will turn 10 and as per the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order, it will have to be taken off the city roads.
“My car is in perfect condition. It has all the clearances and its emissions are within acceptable limits. Why should I give it up? I am still paying off the car loan,” said a distressed Sharma.
For Sharma and hundreds others like him, buying a car is an emotional investment that is made after a lot of thought. To think that a user will agree to scrap the car without any incentive is short sighted, he believes.
Across the world, countries have decided to phase out old diesel cars to either boost their car trade or control pollution. All those who gave their cars away were either given cash incentives or tax benefits or allowed a longer time-frame to give up their vehicles.
Neither the Delhi government nor the NGT have, however, said anything regarding any incentive for diesel vehicle owners so far.
The small African island nation of Mauritius is also in the process of formulating a policy to phase out its old vehicles.
“We have proposed that all vehicles over the age of 30 years should be given up by the citizens. They will, in turn, get 30,000 as incentive. Since Mauritius does not manufacture cars, we insist on importing cars with cleaner technology. We have made our diesel cleaner as compared to 2013 and all the diesel used in the country has only 50 parts per million of Sulphur,” said Satyanand Buskalawa, environment officer, ministry of environment and sustainable development, Mauritius.
The country, however, makes an exception for vintage cars.
According to Buskalawa, the country has also formulated a plan to deal with the cars that citizens give up.
“The plan is to send these cars to a scrap yard from where the metal will be recycled,” he said.
Delhi, however, has not decided what it will do with the cars it impounds.