800,000 cars, buses and trucks will be affected by the ban (file photo: AFP)
More than 2.9 million vehicles are expected to go off the capital’s roads following a landmark order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banning vehicles older than 15 years. With Delhi being ranked the world’s worst polluted city by the World Health Organization, the NGT had on November 26 barred all vehicles – private cars, bikes, commercial vehicles, buses and trucks – over 15 years old from plying in the capital.
The bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had directed that authorities should take appropriate steps to stop these vehicles from being driven, including seizing them.
“It is undisputed and in fact unquestionable that the air pollution of NCT, Delhi, is getting worse with each passing day. It not only projects the very dismayed state of affairs existing with clear indication that worst is likely to follow,” the bench had noted.
According to the Press Trust of India, the NGT has called a meeting on December 2 where Delhi government officials would propose modalities to implement the tribunal’s order.
“After the NGT’s order, we studied the number of vehicles which are over 15 years old and found that there are more than 29 lakh (2.9 million) such vehicles, including over 8 lakh (800,000) four-wheelers and more than 20 lakh (2 million) two-wheelers plying across the national capital,” said a senior official in the Delhi government.
There are reportedly several vehicles over 15 years old that have been issued a five-year fitness extension. “We will also have to decide the fate of such vehicles… In Tuesday’s meeting, this matter will also be discussed,” he added.
The tribunal had on November 28 made it clear that its ban would also apply to the buses from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab that enter Delhi.
“As per the green court’s order, we will also have to make a strategy to ban the entry of private vehicles, which are more than 15 years old, but are coming from other states, in the national capital,” the official said.
At the meeting on November 26, the NGT bench passed a total of 14 orders to tackle the deteriorating quality of Delhi’s air. These include a stricter surveillance on overloaded trucks, restricting parking, and building cycle tracks across the city.
The tribunal also banned burning of plastic or any other material, including tree leaves, in the open.
The NGT directed the Delhi government and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to create a web portal where any member of the public could upload photographs to point out offenders.