The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked Delhi transport authorities on Monday to immediately revoke the registration of diesel vehicles more than 10 years old following complaints that a lack of enforcement of judicial orders was hurting the Capital’s fight against pollution.
Last April, the NGT banned all diesel vehicles older than 10 years. In 2014, the green court said all – diesel and petrol -- vehicles more than 15 years old won’t be permitted to run on city roads.
But despite the orders, older cars continued to ply on Delhi’s roads with the city government saying only the regional transport office (RTO) had the authority to ban old vehicles.
That implementation glitch was resolved on Monday with the NGT asking the RTO to issue a public notice after cancelling the registration of older vehicles and supply a list of such vehicles to the traffic police.
“We hereby direct RTO, Delhi to deregister all diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar said.
This is the latest step in a raft of judicial measures to improve the city’s air that is among the worst in the world. Earlier in the year, the Supreme Court banned the registration of large diesel vehicles and ordered all diesel taxis to convert to CNG. The SC has indicated it is open to revisiting its order on the ban.
Older cars are more harmful for the environment as they have primitive pollution control systems installed and emit more harmful gases than their newer variants. Vehicular exhaust comprises a big chunk of the air pollution that chokes Delhi.
The tribunal’s order came after the Delhi Police said it made repeated attempts to stop older vehicles from plying on city roads. “But they have hardly met any success,” the bench noted.
The traffic police said repeated challans and fine on offending older vehicles hadn’t fetched any result.
“It is also stated that vehicles are released by the magistrates after imposing fine under the Motor Vehicles Act and the vehicles surface again on the roads,” the bench noted.
The NGT also directed the ministry of heavy industries to file an affidavit, giving the status of electric and hybrid vehicles in India and also mention the benefits the government was considering for those who wish to dispose of old vehicles.
The green court also ordered the ministry to write a letter to the chief secretaries of all the states within one week in this regard.
Last week, the NGT asked the Delhi government to submit an action-taken report on the ban orders and give data on the number of cars impounded. In reply, the Delhi transport department said it had impounded around 3,000 cars in the past year but had released them later.
In reply, the Delhi transport department said it had impounded around 3,000 cars in the past year but had released them later.
It said that according to the Motor Vehicles Act, only the RTO had the authority to deregister old vehicles.
The Delhi government had also implemented an ambitious road rationing scheme earlier this year, allowing vehicles to ply on alternate days based on their registration numbers ending with odd or even digits barring Sundays.
According to a study by IIT Kanpur, diesel vehicles contribute 78% of particulate matter – tiny particles that can penetrate the lungs – comes from four-wheelers.
Besides short-time problems such as eye irritation and headache, the pollutants can even lead to heart attacks and cancers, according to health experts.