EVEN AS the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Monday directed the Regional Transport Office (RTO) to immediately deregister all diesel vehicles older than 10 years, the Centre told the tribunal that imposing such a ban would be “harsh” and would adversely affect the automobile sector. It told the NGT that such a ban should only be imposed on vehicles older than 15 years.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for Ministry of Heavy Industries, told the NGT that other fuels also cause pollution but an impression has been created that diesel is more polluting. Anand also argued that the emission norms for particulate matter of diesel vehicles would come down to the level of petrol and CNG vehicles by 2020.
The Centre also told the NGT that the automobile industry “contributes over eight per cent of FDI under the ‘Make in India’ initiative and is a major source of employment generation in the country”. It added that since private vehicle owners have paid a 15 year tax, asking them not to use the vehicles is not justified.
Meanwhile, the NGT also took a serious view of noise pollution caused by vehicles using pressure horns, and said such vehicles and all two-wheelers that do not have silencers will not be permitted to ply on the roads.
“Pressure horns must come to an end. Noise pollution arising from horns is a major issue… It is adversely affecting the noise level in Delhi… All authorities need to pay attention to this aspect before noise levels go to the extent where it becomes irreparable,” said the bench, while noting that noise barriers installed at different points in the city were damaged.
The tribunal also constituted a committee comprising officials from the Environment Ministry, Delhi government, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Delhi Development Authority to identify silence zones in the city and asked it to file a detailed affidavit with a list of such places to control the “menace”.
The NGT further directed the Ministry of Heavy Industries to file an affidavit on the status of electric and hybrid vehicles in the country, and the concessions and benefits the ministry was planning to extend to those who get rid of their old vehicles. The ministry has been asked to write a letter to chief secretaries of all states within one week.
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