After an informal meeting between various stakeholders to devise a plan to execute the National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s order to ban 15-year-old vehicles on Delhi’s roads, sources said the tribunal gave indications that it won’t go back on its decision.
The meeting, which lasted two hours, was attended by officials from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Petroleum Ministry, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Delhi Police and various other departments.
The tribunal’s order had come on a petition by Vardhaman Kaushik, who contended “the level of particulates in Delhi is rising manifold and the reasons for this should be identified and curbed”.
Sources said the purpose of the meeting was to have a discussion on the issue and devise a method for smooth implementation of the order. The DPCC, which is Delhi’s pollution watchdog, has said pollution needed to be seen in its entirety. “Delhi’s pollution can’t be stopped without the cooperation of its neighboring states. Every aspect of pollution needs to be seen,” an official said, while noting that every scientific study has stated that pollution is increasing in the national capital.
The tribunal’s order on November 26 that all vehicles, which were more than 15 years old, wouldn’t be permitted to ply on the roads due to air pollution had led to jitters in the Delhi government. An official explained that implementation would require large-scale coordination between departments and manpower, which they don’t have. “Shortage of manpower is a big problem. We’ll have to fine the cars on the road and then bring them in. The police doesn’t have place to store them either,” the official said.
Reiterating that they lacked the required manpower, Delhi Traffic Police said they can only levy penalty for illegal parking but that does not deter people. The tribunal had responded by saying that if a car is towed away from Moolchand, it should be sent to Narela — to discourage future violations.
The NGT had also directed CPCB and DPCC to check all DTC buses, even if operating on CNG, and if the buses are found emitting in excess of prescribed standards, they must not be permitted to ply. Lawyers appearing for Delhi’s municipal bodies welcomed the meeting and said it had been “very fruitful”.