SC-appointed pollution watchdog wants diesel cabs taken off Delhi roads
The Supreme Court- appointed pollution watchdog on Thursday came down heavily on diesel cabs operating illegally in the national capital and asked the Delhi government to submit a fuel-wise categorisation of cars registered with them.
Diesel emissions are a major contributor to concentration of particulate matter (PM) 2.5, the prominent pollutant in Delhi-NCR.
The Environement Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) also asked the online taxi aggregators to submit a list of diesel cabs they have engaged in the city by Tuesday. The SC-panel said it will also write to the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), asking it to ensure all call centres and private firms do not use diesel cabs to ferry their staff.
The move has come in a bid to implement the apex court’s May 2016 order that allowed diesel cabs running on all India tourist permit (AITPs) to operate in the national capital region (NCR) only till the expiry of their permits. The SC order banned new registration of such taxis that provide pick-up and drop facilities in the capital. It directed authorities to register only those new city taxis that operate on petrol or CNG.
The court had said new AITP permits will be registered as “AITP-N” and will not be allowed to provide point-to-point services in the NCR. Existing AITPs will be called “AITP-O” for point-to-point services, such as the cabs used by BPO firms.
“No diesel taxis running on AITP will be allowed to have alighting or boarding points (point-to-point) services within Delhi-NCR. In case such taxis are still found plying, enforcement agencies must cancel their licenses on the spot,” said EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal.
The SC-appointed body has asked the taxi aggregators to also submit an undertaking stating that diesel taxis engaged by them will not be engaging in point-to-point services within the capital. The taxi aggregators have been asked to furnish the details latest by Tuesday.
The court order applies to the NCR region including the satellite towns of Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad.
However, even as the panel said that it is informed that 70,000 such diesel taxis are still plying in NCR, taxi aggregators told the EPCA that most of their fleets have converted to CNG.
“The number of AITP-O cabs has fairly reduced since the SC order, it is the new diesel taxis that need to be monitored strictly from offering point-to-point services, which is major cause of vehicular emissions,” said Sunita Narain, EPCA member.
Meanwhile, tourist-taxi associations said that the ban on diesel must be extended to private vehicles as well.
“There are only 15,000 -20,000 diesel taxis in the city while around 30 lakh private diesel-run vehicles ply in the city. They must ban the supply of diesel altogether rather than just hitting one section of society,” said Sanjay Samrat, president, Delhi Taxi-Tourist Transporters Association.