In­dian govt aims at diesel ve­hi­cles

Court or­ders those 10 years and older off the Delhi streets

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

IN­DIA’S top en­vi­ron­men­tal court has or­dered author­i­ties to re­move all diesel ve­hi­cles that are at least 10 years old off the cap­i­tal city’s streets in a bid to help clean New Delhi’s pol­luted air.

The rul­ing is the lat­est in a se­ries of court-is­sued or­ders tar­get­ing the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try’s role in pol­lut­ing Delhi’s air, which the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion said in May was the world’s 11th dirt­i­est.

Un­der the or­der, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately, the Na­tional Green Tri­bunal (NGT) di­rected the Delhi trans­port au­thor­ity to can­cel the reg­is­tra­tion of all dieselpow­ered ve­hi­cles pro­duced at least 10 years ago.

New Delhi’s trans­port of­fice must also pro­vide the court with a list of ve­hi­cles los­ing their reg­is­tra­tion, In­dian me­dia re­ported, cit­ing the tri­bunal’s rul­ing. The court was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment.

Ex­perts are di­vided on the ex­tent to which ve­hi­cles are re­spon­si­ble for In­dian ur­ban pollution, but sev­eral have called for a ban on diesel ve­hi­cles be­cause they pol­lute more than petrol-fu­elled cars and mo­tor­cy­cles.

Last year, In­dia’s Supreme Court tem­po­rar­ily banned the sale of large diesel cars in New Delhi. The court has also in­di­cated that it could levy an ad­di­tional tax on the sale of diesel cars, po­ten­tially hit­ting sales of car­mak­ers such as Toy­ota, Mahin­dra & Mahin­dra and Tata Mo­tors.

Pre­vi­ous court bans on older diesel ve­hi­cles in New Delhi have been poorly en­forced, and Deepesh Rathore, a di­rec­tor at Emerg­ing Mar­kets Au­to­mo­tive Ad­vi­sors, said the lat­est rul­ing is “quite un­planned and ar­bi­trary in na­ture”.

“While we are all con­cerned about badly main­tained ve­hi­cles caus­ing pollution, the so­lu­tion to that is to make an­nual ve­hi­cle health checks manda­tory,” he said. “If to­day the NGT can do this thing with­out any warn­ing, any plan­ning or any heads-up, then in five years the same can be done for petrol ve­hi­cles as well.”

Rathore es­ti­mates that nearly 20% of fu­ture diesel ve­hi­cle sales could switch to petrol in re­sponse to the bans.

Air pollution has rock­eted up the list of pub­lic con­cerns among In­dia’s in­creas­ingly vo­cal ur­ban mid­dle class.

The Delhi gov­ern­ment this year re­stricted cars from trav­el­ling on the roads to al­ter­nate days for a two-week pe­riod, while In­dia’s fed­eral gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced an ad­di­tional “green” tax on car sales in Fe­bru­ary.


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