Protest outside Delhi Secretariat against scrapping of overage vehicles drive
A resentment is growing among people against the Delhi government’s drive. In a decision taken in March this year, the Delhi government kicked off a drive to send overage vehicles directly for scrapping
A group of protestors from different parts of the city marched at Delhi Secretariat on Friday morning and sat on dharna against Delhi government’s drive of scrapping overage vehicles claiming the lifting of vehicles for scrapping was “unjust, unscientific and anti-people”.
The dharna is being held outside Delhi Secretariat under the aegis of the Citizens’ Action Group of India (CAGI), a civil society organisation.
A resentment is growing among people against the Delhi government’s drive. In a decision taken in March this year, the Delhi government kicked off a drive to send overage vehicles directly for scrapping.
According to an order issued on June 28, the enforcement wing of the Delhi transport department will impound overage vehicles which have a no objection certificate (NOC).
Sachin Gupta, a protestor, said the scrapping of vehicles was very damaging for people and must be immediately stopped.
“The vehicles are being scrapped just because they have crossed a certain age. No fitness test and no pollution certificates are being checked which is absolutely wrong. The government and the court must prescribe strict fitness tests for the overage vehicles and the vehicles failing the fitness tests should be scrapped. A blanket policy of scrapping vehicles based on their age is unjust and unscientific,” Gupta told reporters.
The protestors also demanded a meeting with transport minister Kailash Gahlot over the issue.
“Arguments between vehicle owners and transport officials have become common. People oppose the drive and also target us. We are just following the orders from our seniors,” said a transport enforcement wing official seeking not to be named.
According to the recent order, any registered diesel vehicle more than 10 years old, and petrol vehicle over 15 years old cannot operate in the national capital region (NCR), according to various orders issued by the National Green Tribunal (2015) and the Supreme Court (2018). The government calls such vehicles “end of life” vehicles and driving them in Delhi is illegal, with the aim that old vehicles with dated emission standards do not ply in the Capital.
Since 2018, the Delhi transport department has de-registered around 5.5 million overage vehicles.
Another protestor said the forceful scrapping of the overage vehicles affects the middle class more than the rich. “Middle-class people who cannot afford to change their vehicles frequently use old vehicles. Many of them buy second-hand vehicles. It is a conspiracy to push them into the endless cycles of EMIs by forcing them to buy new cars. It will also destroy the second-hand car market,” he said.
No comments were available from the transport minister on the protest despite HT reaching out to him.
Reacting to the protests by people, a senior transport department official said the drive against the overage vehicles will not stop.
“The drive is being run in pursuance of the orders of the Supreme Court, NGT, and Centre for Air Quality Management. People who want to protest their old overage vehicles should park the vehicles on their private properties and must not use such vehicles. The transport enforcement teams are not impounding any vehicle which is parked on private properties, or parking spaces. Only overage vehicles which are plying or parked on roads or public spaces are being impounded,” said the official, not wanting to be named.
The drive against overage vehicles was launched at a large scale earlier this year. However, it came to a sudden halt after state transport minister Gahlot wrote a letter to transport commissioner Ashish Kundra to stop the lifting of overage vehicles for scrapping which are not plying but are parked on the road stating that towing away from a parked vehicle is not mandated anywhere in the law.
Later, the Commission for Air Quality Management wrote to the transport department in the last week of May stating that appropriate action may be taken against overage vehicles plying or parked in public spaces in the capital as per the Supreme Court and NGT orders. It prompted the transport department to relaunch the crackdown on the overage vehicles including overage vehicles parked in public spaces.
Around 3,000 vehicles have been lifted and scrapped by the transport department enforcement wing since May 29 when the impounding of the vehicles was re-launched.
Meanwhile, the people protesting at the Delhi Secretariat said they will continue their protest till 5pm as they wait to meet the transport minister.
Vehicular emissions contribute only around 9% of the PM10 load and around 20% of the PM2.5 load in Delhi, according to a 2016 study by IIT-Kanpur. Particles formed due to smoke from industries and various other sources and burning of garbage were the two main contributors to air pollution in winter, according to preliminary findings of the Delhi government’s real-time source apportionment study in January.
The overage vehicles cannot be used in Delhi but the owners can obtain NOCs from Delhi’s motor licensing officers and get such vehicles re-registered in select states.
States where such vehicles are allowed to be sold and re-registered include Rajasthan and Meghalaya (all districts), Bihar (18 districts), Maharashtra (26 districts), Uttar Pradesh (33) and West Bengal (all districts but only BS-IV vehicles).