OF THE 1.9 lakh diesel vehicles in the city that have been plying for more than 15 years, and de-registered by the Transport Department last year, only 114 have been impounded by traffic police so far. The de-registration was done after the National Green Tribunal called for it as an immediate measure to curb air pollution.
“Since de-registering 1.9 lakh diesel vehicles on November 12, Delhi Traffic Police have impounded 114 vehicles. Diesel vehicles older than 15 years have scarcely been found plying on the roads. No one is taking them out or driving them around,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Garima Bhatnagar said.
Stating the reason for the number of impounded vehicles being so few, traffic police said owners are selling off the old vehicles in neighbouring states such as Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, where these vehicles are allowed to ply.
“People are selling off their vehicles or sending them to relatives living in neighbouring states. That is why so few vehicles have been challaned so far,” Bhatnagar said.
In comparison, over 13,000 vehicles without “pollution under control certificates” have been issued challans since November 12 when traffic police intensified its drive to abate pollution.
Taking old diesel vehicles off the roads was one of the primary agendas set by the NGT and other courts in the fight against air pollution.
When 1.9 lakh vehicles were deregistered, traffic police, the Delhi government and the DDA had planned to tackle the space shortage by drawing up a list of vacant DDA plots, where the impounded vehicles would be parked temporarily till March 31.
With the March 31 deadline nearing and so few cars in, traffic police have not used the DDA plot in Narela in the northwest of the capital at all. Bhatnagar, however, said, “We refused to use the plot because towing vehicles from south Delhi, for instance, to Narela would be difficult.”
There is also a chance that owners are plying old vehicles in bylanes or smaller roads, unmanned by traffic personnel since traffic police are restricted to main roads or owners are keeping old vehicles parked at homes, sources said.
“The courts have asked the Delhi government not to issue NOCs allowing vehicles older than 15 years to be sold in states outside the NCR so owners are selling vehicles on the sly. And while we are authorised to issue NOCs to vehicles aged between 10 and 15 years for sale outside, neighbouring states are not willing to take these vehicles,” a Delhi government official said.
Two states, including Himachal Pradesh, have already refused residents permission to buy old diesel vehicles. In some districts in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, however, purchase of old cars are being allowed. Other states haven’t responded to our notification yet. So vehicle owners are not approaching us with NOC requests. They are selling off vehicles secretly, he said.
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