Amid developments in the much-debated diesel car ban in several states, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday gave three weeks’ time to all states to furnish a report on pollution levels in their worst-affected cities.
The next hearing in the matter is on July 11, where all states will have to present data on vehicular population, pollution from dust and the two most polluted cities in their respective states, to the NGT.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand told the NGT that about 8% FDI under ‘Make in India’ has come from the auto industry and that the sector also generates employment opportunities.
“We don’t want the industry to suffer, which is why the government has brought fuel guidelines. The whole idea is that people must prosper. The NGT passed an order but the same was stayed by the High Court. There aren’t enough evidences to show that diesel vehicles are causing more pollution,” Anand told the media here after the hearing.
Anand, who is representing the Centre in the matter, asserted that there must be a broad plan for a long, short and medium term to curb pollution.
The auto manufacturers Association also conveyed to the NGT that vehicular pollution was not the sole cause of pollution and that cars above 2000 cc were not the major source.
Earlier, the NGT bench after hearing a petition filed by Lawyers Environmental Awareness Forum (LEAF), ordered that diesel vehicles over 10 years old may not be allowed to ply in six cities, including Thiruvananthapuram, Kothamangalam, Thrissur and Kozhikode.
The bench also directed the traffic police to take action and charge a fine of Rs. 5,000 as environment compensation from defaulters.
The petition had demanded that toxic gases emitted by old diesel vehicles such as lorries and buses should be immediately curtailed and a strict rule be imposed for it.