No new diesel vehicles of over 2000cc in Delhi till March 31: SC
The Supreme Court banned on Wednesday the registration of new diesel-guzzling luxury cars and SUVs with engine capacity of 2000 cc and above until March 31 in the national capital region, unveiling a raft of measures to clean up Delhi’s toxic air.
The ruling was one of several far-reaching judgments the Supreme Court delivered on governance issues even as political bickering over Tuesday’s CBI raid at Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s office dominated Parliament.
The court, however allowed plying of existing diesel cars during the ban period.
The apex court’s decision effectively stops the sale of several popular vehicle brands besides hurting luxury car-makers across the board as most of their best-sellers are diesel-driven.
An SC bench headed by chief justice TS Thakur also banned the entry of trucks registered before 2005 into the city and hiked up by 100% the Green cess levied on commercial vehicles entering Delhi.
Besides, any commercial vehicle not bound for Delhi will no longer be allowed to enter the city while all taxis and cab services -- Ola, Uber or otherwise -- will have to shift to CNG by March 31.
The top court’s rulings came a day after the chief justice noted that the rich cannot be allowed to pollute the Capital.
“Diesel vehicles of 2000 cc and above and SUVs are generally used by more affluent sections of our society and because of the higher engine capacity are more prone to cause higher levels of pollution. A ban on registration of such vehicles will not therefore affect the common man,” the bench said.
It, however, permitted registration of new commercial light duty diesel vehicles on the ground the public was dependent on them for supply of essentials.
The court said its directive will likely be reviewed in April next year when Euro 4-compliant diesel engines with improved emission standards are introduced. The bench made it clear that buyers would have to ultimately pay environment compensation cess (ECC) on the purchase of every diesel car with smaller engine capacity.
The order comes days after the Delhi government announced a radical road rationing formula -– to be implemented from January 1 -- wherein odd and even numbered cars will be kept off the roads on alternate days.
Delhi has 8.5 million vehicles — up 97% from 2000 — and adds 1,400 new cars to its streets every day, contributing to a hazardous blanket of smog that intensifies during the winter months, triggering a slew of respiratory and life-threatening diseases.
The Delhi government has already announced more measures to curb pollution — vacuum-cleaning of roads by April and phasing out two thermal power plants.
The court also asked the Centre to take a compassionate view towards the Delhi Police personnel manning the streets – especially the traffic constable – and provide them with masks so that they do not fall ill.
Taking a dig at the ongoing tussle between the two government’s over who controls Delhi Police, the court told the Delhi government and Centre’s counsel, “You should not fight over this, at least.”
The Delhi Commission for Women conducted a surprise check of civic body-run schools in the national capital to look into safety and security measures in place for girl students in wake of recent reports of molestation. DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal, who led the team, called the condition of some of these schools “pathetic, unsafe and deeply disturbing”.
Pune: For over two months now, some of the big municipal corporations in the state, including Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, and Nashik, are under administrator's rule. Same goes with illegal encroachments and other civic inconveniences. In Pune, municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar, who is also serving as the administrator, has been pushing for expediting projects, some unpopular and seemingly difficult to be executed, if public representatives are in the game.
Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday directed the state civil aviation department to immediately tie up with the Centre for direct flights to countries such as the US and Canada from the international airport in Mohali. Also read: Rain brings respite from heat wave in Punjab, Haryana At present, only two international flights are operational from the airport to Dubai and Sharjah.
The Char Dham Yatra to Kedarnath was halted on Monday amid gusty winds, heavy rain and snowfall in Uttarakhand even as the pilgrimage to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Hemkund Sahib, and Badrinath continued as usual. “Hemkund Sahib experienced light snow on the day the portals of the shrine were opened but it has not affected the yatra,” said Hemkund Sahib Management Trust vice president NS Bindra. Over 10,000 pilgrims were waiting for the yatra to resume.
At least four persons drowned and two others were rescued after a boat capsized near Prabhu Ghat in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi on Monday. Police rushed to the spot and an NDRF team was also called to help in rescue efforts. According to officials, the six people were sailing on the Ganga river near the ghat when water started filling up through a hole in the boat. Soon after, the boat capsized.