Driving in smog-hit Delhi without a valid pollution-under-control (PUC) certificate may soon cost you Rs 5,000.
In yet another move towards cleaning the city’s notoriously toxic air, the AAP government has moved the national green tribunal (NGT) seeking to increase the penalty on such polluting vehicles from the current Rs 1,000 for a first offence and Rs 2,000 for a subsequent violation to a stiffer Rs 5,000.
The move comes a day after a major Supreme Court ruling that banned the registration of new diesel SUVs and luxury vehicles in the NCR for three months starting January 1, and put the brakes on the entry of diesel-driven commercial trucks into Delhi by doubling the green cess.
Since the city government is not empowered to increase penalties prescribed by the Motor Vehicles Act, it petitioned the green court seeking the power to do so under the NGT Act. “The government of NCT Delhi wants to take steps so that people driving in Delhi get their vehicles certified with the standard emission norms,” the government said in its plea.
That’s not all. The government has started the process of linking the 600-odd petrol pumps that give out PUC certificates to a central database to ensure no certificate is issued to polluting vehicles. While 388 of these centres are authorized to check petrol and CNG vehicles, 273 cater to diesel vehicles.
Come the new year, the city government will also start a 15-day trial of its ambitious road-rationing policy that will allow cars to ply on city roads only on alternate days depending on whether their number plates end in an even or odd number.
More measures to curb pollution have been spelt out by the government and courts such as vacuum-cleaning and paving of roads to rid them of dust, switching all taxis to the cleaner CNG, and clamping down on waste burning. The government has given sub-divisional magistrates and tehsildars the power to prosecute people causing air pollution by burning garbage.