Diesel autos to be phased out from NCR by 2026, says CAQM; GB Nagar, Ghaziabad halfway there

Published on Dec 01, 2022 11:29 PM IST

For Gurugram, Faridabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Ghaziabad, the deadline to phase out diesel autos has been set as December 31, 2024

The CAQM said all autos in Delhi are already compliant with these directions, but other NCR cities need to quickly follow suit. (HT Archive)
The CAQM said all autos in Delhi are already compliant with these directions, but other NCR cities need to quickly follow suit. (HT Archive)

From January 1, 2023, no diesel auto-rickshaw will be registered in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR has told the states of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in a letter, and directed the transport departments to register only CNG or electric autos.

The latest directive is part of the CAQM’s policy to phase out diesel autos from NCR completely by December 31, 2026, as announced by the commission in July this year. The CAQM said all autos in Delhi are already compliant with these directions, but other NCR cities need to quickly follow suit.

“Auto-rickshaws are a preferred economical mode of transport...while all auto-rickshaws in Delhi have already been mandated to be CNG fuelled or electric, there are still diesel auto-rickshaws plying in the NCR across Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan,” said the CAQM order dated November 30, 2022.

CAQM clarified that no petrol autos will be allowed to be registered either. “Although only a handful, they too will not be allowed to be registered in NCR.Only CNG or electric will be the permissible fuel mode,” said a CAQM official, stating there were no timelines on phasing out petrol autos.

The CAQM order states that a comprehensive policy to curb air pollution in NCR was formulated and disseminated to the NCR states in July 2022, a part of which was phasing out diesel autos from NCR by December 31, 2026.

For Gurugram, Faridabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Ghaziabad, the deadline to phase out diesel autos has been set as December 31, 2024.

For the districts of Sonepat, Rohtak, Jhajjar and Baghpat, the deadline is December 31, 2025, while for the rest of NCR, it is December 31, 2026, the CAQM said.

Officials in Gautam Budh Nagar said the implementation of the order is not difficult as registration of diesel autos is already banned in the district for the past several years. The few remaining diesel autos are also being phased out.

“We have just around 160 diesel autos, which have not taken a no objection certificate to transfer them to other districts. We have sent notices to them again and these will also be phased out soon,” said ARTO Siyaram Verma.

He added that there are a total of 28,040 autos in the district. These include 18,540 CNG autos, 40 electric autos, 160 diesel autos and 9,300 e-rickshaws.

Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said diesel vehicles are a long-term segment of the larger jigsaw puzzle which aims to tackle different sources of pollution. “CAQM’s comprehensive policy is looking at sources from different sectors and autos are one of the key sources, the other being coal, which is being phased out simultaneously in NCR from January 1,” she said.

The comprehensive policy has already asked the NCR states to come up with their own policies on e-vehicles and how to promote them.

Officials of the Ghaziabad transport region, which encompasses the four districts of Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Hapur and Bulandshahr, said diesel autos are not being registered for the past two years.

“We have already stopped registering diesel autos since the past two years and only one centre, in Sikandrabad in Bulandshahr, has the facility to register such autos. We will shut it down in the wake of CAQM orders; the matter will be discussed in the next meeting of the regional transport authority. We will also discuss the matter of diesel autos that still have validity to operate,” said Arun Kumar, regional transport officer of Ghaziabad region.

The department is presently issuing permits only for CNG autos. It has also capped the permits of autos at 15,100 in Ghaziabad and at 15,600 in Gautam Budh Nagar.

“Ever since we stopped issuing permits for diesel autos, there has been a considerable reduction in number of diesel autos. It is estimated that both Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar have about 50-60% valid autos (CNG based) operating,” the RTO said.

The department said both Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar have about 16,761 CNG autos and only 316 diesel autos. Of the 316 diesel autos, Ghaziabad has 305 while 11 are in Gautam Budh Nagar. Two electric autos are registered in Ghaziabad, Kumar said.

The auto union office-bearers have also hailed the latest directions from the CAQM.

“We do not want diesel autos on roads as they are polluting. There are hardly any diesel autos left in the two cities as such. But the authorities must decide on existing diesel autos that have permits valid for 10 years. If they are phased out early, the drivers will lose their earnings as they cannot afford the high cost of a new auto,” said Dilshad Ahmad, president of Ghaziabad Autorickshaw Chalak Sangh.

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