Desperate to check rising air pollution levels, the Delhi government has for the first time turned the heat on thousands of vehicles coming from National Capital Region (NCR) towns — cabs, chartered buses and commercial vehicles.
Officials will be posted at the interstate borders near Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad to catch vehicles with UP and Haryana registration numbers and see if their emission levels are within tolerable limits. If they fail, they will be turned back.
“Random on-the-spot checks will scare away the polluting vehicles,” said a senior government official not wanting to be named.
While waging a war against pollution from vehicles registered in Delhi, the growing fleet of cars to and from the NCR has gone largely unnoticed over the years. “They contribute significantly to the city's air pollution but their pollution load in Delhi had remained unchecked so far,” he said.
The decision was taken in consultation with the Central Pollution Control Board and the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority or EPCA.
“This was necessary because these vehicles, especially the diesel ones, have been robbing Delhi of its “clean air advantage” due to introduction of CNG-run public transport vehicles. It was high time that this growing fleet (NCR vehicles) was under the scanner. A regular and hassle-free bus service between Delhi and the NCR will replace hundreds of cabs and private cars in the route,” said Sunita Narain, environmentalist and member of EPCA. This apart, ‘flying squads’ of the transport department will catch visibly polluting vehicles on the roads and impose an on-the-spot fine of Rs 1,000.