Ban on diesel vehicles: NGT extends stay till May 25

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday extended till May 25 the stay on its earlier order banning diesel vehicles older than 10 years from plying in the Delhi National Capital Region. It, however, pulled up the Union road transport ministry for submitting a report by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, that said vehicles above 10 years give rise to only a “negligible” amount of air pollution.

A two-member bench headed by chairperson Swatanter Kumar said the report did not present a “comprehensive and well-reasoned report to curb air pollution in the capital”.

“What is the basis of this report? IIT has no business to comment on this. This report is not comprehensive enough,” the bench said.

Saying the report did not take samples from major locations experiencing air pollution in the city, the bench remarked that IIT Delhi could have done a better job.

“You have placed 100 pages without conducting any study. Merely because you are IIT, you can't be always right,” the bench said.

It said the study only refers to private vehicles but is silent on the pollution caused by commercial vehicles, including trucks. “Base data has to be correct, taking into consideration all kinds of vehicles, moving or stationery. You have not associated anybody with the research and have relied on old data... Don't try to tell us our order is wrong. The whole IIT report is tilted towards proving the ban order is bad,” it said.

The green body asked the ministry for its views on capping the total number of vehicles, scrapping of old vehicles, car pooling and incentives to those who want to dispose their old vehicles.

NGT had earlier directed the Central Pollution Control Board to carry out a study on ambient air quality. The study established diesel vehicles as the major cause for deteriorating air quality in the national capital.

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