KOCHI: In a landmark judgment, the National Green Tribunal circuit bench here on Monday banned light and heavy diesel vehicles, which are more than 10 years old, in six major cities of Kerala, including state capital Thiruvananthapuram and commercial capital Kochi.
In its first sitting, the bench, comprising NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar and expert member Bikram Singh Sajwan, also directed the state government not to register any diesel vehicle in the capacity of 2000cc and more, except public transport and local authority vehicles.
“All diesel vehicles whether light or heavy, which are more than 10 years old, shall not be permitted to ply on the roads in major cities like Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur,” the bench said.
Upon expiry of 30 days from Monday, if any vehicle is found to be violating this direction, it shall pay ` 5,000 as environmental compensation, which will be collected by the traffic police or the pollution control board, the bench said.
It said that both state police and pollution control board shall maintain separate accounts in this regard and directed that the funds be utilised for betterment of environment in these cities.
The bench issued the order while hearing a petition filed by the Lawyers’ Environmental Awareness Forum (LEAF). In its petition, the forum sought action against highly polluting diesel vehicles such as trucks and buses. It also noted that Kochi and other major cities have earned the reputation of being the most polluted cities.
Earlier, acting chief justice of the Kerala high court, Thottathil B Radhakrishnan, inaugurated the Kochi Special Circuit Bench of the NGT.