Out of 112 trucks entering Delhi, 97 were found to be overloaded but only eight were found to be polluting, claimed an inspection report submitted by a team formed on the National Green Tribunal’s directions. Pulling up the Delhi government for the “incomplete” report, the Tribunal asked how this was “possible” and slammed them for testing vehicles on only two parameters — opacity of smoke and carbon dioxide emissions.
“How can you say that 97 overloaded trucks were not causing pollution and only eight were polluting? How is that possible?” a bench asked.
The Delhi government had told the Tribunal that it had checked the trucks for age, weight, and extent of pollution caused and had found that only eight trucks did not conform to permissible pollution standards.
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During the previous hearing, the Tribunal had constituted three teams — comprising officials from the Transport department, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Delhi Police — to check vehicles entering Delhi at different entry points between 5 pm and 7 am. But the Delhi government didn’t involve the CPCB. It also did not conduct the inspection based on seven parameters despite NGT orders and only checked opacity of smoke and carbon dioxide levels.
“Which parameters were measured? Did you measure PM (particulate matter) 2.5? Are your officers not supposed to know what they are testing? Is this the state of affairs? What are you people doing? On what basis did you pass or fail a vehicle?” the bench asked.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) maintained that it didn’t have the requisite equipment. In response, the Tribunal slammed it for “making excuses”.
The bench directed authorities to conduct another round of inspections on Wednesday. “If you don’t have the equipment, why can’t you buy one? You are really good at making excuses,” the bench said.
Previously, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand had contended that most other countries had adopted fitness tests, including emission checks for vehicles, as the criterion for curbing pollution and not the age of vehicles. This, the Tribunal maintained, was “factually incorrect”. “According to you, if vehicles older than 15 years can go then how can you say that vehicles older than 10 years cannot be banned,” the bench asked the ASG.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Development Authority told the NGT that it was not possible for it to provide land for DTC’s proposal seeking 500 acres of land for parking space for a fleet of 10,000 buses.