With the National Green Tribunal (NGT) refusing to allow 10-year-old diesel vehicles to ply in the national capital, more than one lakh cars are likely to go off Delhi’s road.
According to the database of ‘Vahan’, the national vehicle registry that intends to collate all information available with road transport authorities, there are around 3.2 lakh diesel vehicles in the city that are more than 10 years old.
“Of these 3.25 lakh vehicles, not all vehicles exist today. While some second-hand vehicles have been sold outside Delhi, many have been scrapped without any official document. At present, only around 30% – 35% of these vehicles are running in Delhi,” said a senior official, on condition of anonymity.
Earlier this week, while disposing of a four-year-old case (Vardhaman Kaushik Vs Union of India) pertaining to air pollution, the NGT had reiterated that 10-year-old diesel vehicles would not be allowed to ply in Delhi. Nor would they be allowed to enter the national capital from outside, the green court had said.
A 2016 study conducted by researchers from IIT Kanpur had stated that vehicles contribute heavily to at least two of the city’s most potent pollutants in the air – PM2.5 and NO2. While around 20% of the city’s PM2.5 level comes from Delhi, around 36% of the NO2 comes from vehicles.
“This is a welcome order and in tune with the overall strategy to reduce diesel vehicles. This would help to further reduce emission levels in Delhi, mostly PM2.5 and NO2. Diesel vehicles are being phased out across the world,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy) of Centre for Science and Environment.
The NGT had also reiterated that new diesel vehicles, which are not BS-IV complaint, shall also not be registered in Delhi. Only essential vehicles such as ambulance, fire services and sewer cleaning machines among others have been exempted.
Transport department officials said that while trucks are usually intercepted at the borders, the police has to take action on other vehicles plying in the city.
“Whenever we stop any vehicle for checking we also check how old it is. If it is more than 10 years old we impound the vehicle,” said Alok Kumar Joint CP (Traffic) of Delhi Police.