January 27, 2022

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‘Have pollution check on decade-old vehicles in Delhi-NCR like Parliament instead of blanket ban’

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Soon after the policy on scrapping of vehicles was notified earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had said that the phasing out should be based on fitment of vehicles rather than their age.

NEW DELHI:Bhartruhari Mahtab, the BJD MP from Cuttack, on Friday suggested in the Lok Sabha that instead of putting a blanket ban on 10-year-old diesel and 15-year-old petrol vehicles in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR), their pollution check should be carried out on the lines of the Parliament complex to establish if they have run for less than 1 lakh km in 10 years and are causing pollution.

The issue of the ban on 10-year-old diesel and 15-year-old petrol vehicles in Delhi and NCR came up in the Lok Sabha when BJD’s Mahtab sought that the government either bring a bill to nullify the order of the green tribunal or approach the Supreme Court to review the ban.

During a discussion in the House on climate change, Mahtab said that not all vehicles cause pollution. “This is a blanket ban order. There is no limitation on how many kilometres the vehicles would have to run, whether they are pollution-free or not,” he said, referring to the green tribunal ban.

“My request to the government is that it should bring out a new law or go to the Supreme Court for reconsideration of this order,” the Cuttack MP said, touching upon an issue currently pending in the apex court.

Both the Delhi government and the Centre had earlier said that they are considering approaching the SC seeking review of the green tribunal order now that the road transport ministry has issued revised guidelines on phasing out of old vehicles.

Soon after the policy on scrapping of vehicles was notified earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had said that the phasing out should be based on fitment of vehicles rather than their age.

Mahtab said that the green tribunal order was given “without applying adequate mind on this aspect, and, in a way, one can allege that it is only to promote the automobile sector that the vehicles that have plied for more than 10 years should be off road”.

The MP added that an effective pollution check can help in this regard, like the one available for them on entering the Parliament complex. It can be established if the vehicles have run for less than 1 lakh km in 10 years and are not causing pollution, and then they should be allowed to ply. And those breaching on both the counts should be phased out.

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The data was shared in a compiled Action Taken Report (ATR) prepared by the Department of Environment & Forest, showing the figure from November 17 till December 6. As many as 749 vehicle owners have been fined and 1,417 have been prosecuted during the same time frame.

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Activists say that the revised fines will be a deterrent, but the RTO officials and traffic police should also phase out vehicles with older emission norms and try to create an ultra-low emission zone as has been done in London while promoting green vehicles in Mumbai.

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