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Diesel cars over 15 years old cannot be sold anywhere in India: NGT

  • If you are a diesel car owner for a long time, the past few weeks would have been a pain to go through. With multiple statements released by the SC, the NGT and other authorities, it seems like the last lifelines for the owners of old diesel cars have been cut off.
    The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday said all diesel vehicles older than 15 years in Delhi-NCR will have to be scrapped and won't be given permission to be sold in other parts of the country .

    Adding to its July 19 order on phase-out of old diesel vehicles throughout the national capital region, the tribunal also directed transport authorities to issue no objection certificates to vehicles between 10 and 15 years old to enable their sale in designated places outside NCR.

    "Diesel vehicles more than 15 years old...shall be scrapped and no NOC issued for transfer of these vehicles," the order said.

    The tribunal made it clear that deregistration of diesel vehicles more than 10 years old "shall be complied with effectively and without de fault". But in a minor relief to car owners and authorities, the bench said the deregistration process could be conducted in phases, starting with vehicles more than 15 years old. But, no deregistered vehicle will be allowed to ply in NCR, it asserted.

    The bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed all states and UTs to identify places with the "least vehicular density" and where chances of dispersion of air pollution is high."We grant the last opportunity to states and UTs to identify such areas and put them on their websites," it said. RTOs in Delhi and NCR will issue NOCs for transfer of deregistered vehicles only to areas identified by states. The order clarified that diesel vehicles on national permits that are more than 10 years old will also not be permitted to run in NCR. These vehicles, however, will not be deregistered.

    "The age cap of 15 years for commercial vehicles has been around for a long time. Now, personal vehicles will also fall under that ambit. NGT is basically laying out a phase-out policy for old diesel vehicles in Delhi. Our concern, though, is with the country's scrapping policy . We think no vehicle replacement should happen until new and advanced emission norms are in place," said Anumita Roy Chowdhury , head of clean air campaign at CSE.

    The bench directed DDA to provide space to DTC and traffic police for parking of vehicles, including those that will be impounded. It directed the chief secretary to hold a meeting with DDA vicechairman and commissioners of municipal corporations within a week to identi fy land given by DDA to authorities for this purpose.

    The rulings came in a case filed by lawyer Vardhaman Kaushik on air pollution in Delhi and related applications.The bench said it was disappointed with non-compliance of its orders by both the Centre and Delhi government.
     
    "You haven't done anything. The truth is that you don't want to do anything. The ground reality is that the government machinery doesn't want to work at all," it said, adding, it had not received any response from Delhi government on capping the number of vehicles.
     
    The bench said the Delhi government will have to take immediate steps to improve the public transport system so that the transition for diesel car users affected by the phase-out is easier.
     
    NGT also directed the ministry of heavy industries to publicise the incentives it plans for those willing to scrap their vehicles.
     
    Meanwhile, NGT ordered an additional environmental compensation fine of Rs 5,000 on pressure horns and motorbikes running without silencers, under the "polluter pay" principle.
     

    OUR TAKE

    It is sad, of course, for the people who own these cars. But the government has made the right decision. In the long run, this decision would surely help the environmental causes. But this decision alone will not be as effective, if not coupled with a few others. There are rickshaws running on kerosene and causing pollution. They should be banned too. Strict pollution check and control rules should be implemented. Otherwise, this phasing-out-diesel-cars rule would just be meaningless on its own.


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