There has been a reduction of around 20% trucks entering Delhi after the launch of the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), which is way short of the target, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority was informed Friday.
The EPCA, which conceived the project in 2004, said the reduction should be at least 70% — which is the number of trucks not destined for Delhi that enter the city. The 135-km expressway, which opened on May 27, still lacks proper signages and lighting, leading to chaos at night.
During a meeting on Friday, a Delhi Police representative urged EPCA chairman Bhure Lal to write to the authorities of NCR districts, through which the EPE passes, to divert such non-destined vehicles before they come near Delhi’s borders. “Delhi Police has deployed personnel at all 16 major entry points to prevent non-destined trucks from entering the city. But the diversions should happen at entry points like Kundli in Haryana or at the exit points in UP,” said an official.
He added that police has already held meetings on this issue with their UP and Haryana counterparts. The EPCA now plans to call the SSPs of NCR districts on July 2 for a discussion.
“There is no reason for trucks not to take the EPE as the cost of taking it would be considerably lesser. On crossing all nine toll points of EPE, one will end up paying something around Rs 1,000. It is lesser than the Environment Compensation Charge that commercial vehicles entering Delhi have to pay, which should act as an incentive,” said the official.
‘Over 700 brick kilns switch to zig-zag construction method’
In a separate meeting, the EPCA was informed that 722 brick kilns operating in the NCR have adopted the zig-zag construction method in the last six months. This is a part of the Centre-notified Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to combat air pollution.
As per the EPCA, all brick kilns in the region will shut for the season on June 30.
EPCA member Sunita Narain, “There are around 4,000 brick kilns in the NCR districts of UP and Haryana. Under GRAP, only those that have adopted zig-zag technology can operate. We will update the list till June 30. Later, we will take a call on when the brick kilns can be allowed to resume production again. The manufacturers want the window between February and June.”
Manufacturers said authorities should not resort to sudden closure as it would lead to huge losses.
Zig-zag technology slows down the emission of smoke through chimneys at brick kilns, allowing particulates to settle and reducing pollution.