Centre’s draft plan has little impact on old vehicles in NCR
The Centre’s new draft vehicle-scrapping policy, which will allow owners to use their old vehicles after a fitness test and on payment of a higher fee, will have little impact for owners of vehicles registered in Delhi, unless there are fresh directions from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) or the Supreme Court.
In March, the Union ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) released the first draft of the national voluntary scrappage scheme, under which a private vehicle over 20 years old will have to mandatorily undergo fitness and emission tests, failing which it will be deemed as an End-of-Life-Vehicle or ‘EOLV’, and will be scrapped.
For commercial vehicles, the age has been capped at 15 years. Such vehicles will have to pay more for fitness certificates and will also have to pay a “green tax”, which will vary from state to state, depending on their pollution levels. None of the rates have been decided yet and the policy is likely to be implemented from next year.
But the National Capital Region (NCR), because of its hazardous pollution levels in winter, is governed by a separate set of norms that will override the Centre’s scheme.
What are the rules that govern the use of old vehicles in Delhi?
Vehicles in Delhi have been categorised on the basis of their fuel type and assigned a shelf life. Any registered diesel vehicle more than 10 years old, and petrol vehicle over 15 years old cannot operate in NCR. These rules have been laid down in various orders issued by the NGT (2015) and the Supreme Court (2018). This is different from the Centre’s draft policy, where the only distinction is between private and commercial vehicles in determining the age for re-registration, which is dependent on its fitness.
Delhi also has its own vehicle scrapping guidelines, issued in August 2018, according to which any vehicle, whether petrol or diesel, has to be mandatorily scrapped once they are above 15 years. In other states, vehicles can be run even after 15 years once it undergoes a fresh fitness test.
“Delhi’s motor licensing officers issue no-objection certificates (NOCs) for vehicles that are either above 15 years old, or above 10 years if it is a diesel variant. The vehicles cannot be used in Delhi, but these NOCs can be used in select states to get the vehicle re-registered there. It is illegal to drive any such vehicle without re-registration in that state,” said a senior transport official.
States where such vehicles are allowed to be sold and re-registered include Rajasthan, which allows it in all its districts; Bihar (18 districts); Maharashtra (26 districts); Uttar Pradesh (33); West Bengal (all districts but only BS-IV vehicles); Meghalaya (all districts).
What are a user’s options if their vehicle is nearing the end of its mandated shelf life?
A vehicle owner can use their vehicle till the day the shelf life expires. So, for instance, a nine-year-old diesel vehicle or a 14-year-old petrol one can be used for another year on NCR roads. However, after the shelf period elapses, the options for vehicle owners are few. Once this happens, the best option for an owner is to sell the end-of-life vehicle in another state, and will also result in a better monetary return.
“It is better if owners start planning to sell or re-register their vehicles nearing their end-of-life age sooner than when they actually cross 10 or 15 years. That way, they will get more returns and also go through the process easily. Scrapping is an option if one wants to retain the registration number or if a vehicle has crossed 15 years or if it is badly damaged,” said a senior transport official.
Is it possible that the rules will change in Delhi or NCR?
To address Delhi’s peculiar situation, which is very different from what the draft national scrapping policy envisages, state transport minister Kailash Gahlot on June 16 said the Delhi government was planning to approach the Supreme Court to review its 2018 order prohibiting the plying of 15-year-old petrol and 10-year-old diesel vehicles in Delhi-NCR.
Gahlot on Wednesday said, “Our legal team has advised that an appeal can be filed only once the national scrapping policy is notified, because right now, it is still at a formative stage. So, we will file an appeal in the SC once the Centre notifies the policy,” he said.
To be sure, it is not clear when the Centre will notify this policy, since it is taking suggestions from state governments.
Exceptions in place for vintage cars
On July 15, the MoRTH notified fresh amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 2021 to include a special provision for registration of vintage motor vehicles. All two-wheelers and four-wheelers that are more than 50 years old from the date of first registration, maintained in their original form and have not undergone any substantial overhaul, which includes any modification in chassis or body shell or engine, shall be defined as Vintage Motor Vehicles, it stated.