Millennium Post

4 more no-go zones for heavy diesel vehicles: SC

A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur had on December 16 ordered a ban on sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and luxury cars with the engine capacity of 2000cc or higher, a move that was pleaded against by top car manufacturers.

A plea asking for a revision of the order was filed by Toyota, Mahindra & Mahindra, and Mercedes, claiming that their cars did not cause much pollution. “Do your cars emit oxygen?” the bench remarked as it directed the three car manufacturers to submit documentary evidence that pollution from their vehicles equaled those of petrol engines.

The top court also banned the entry of heavy commercial vehicles from four additional entry points at NH 2, NH 10, NH 58 and state highway 57 which connects Ghaziabad to Baghpat. In an earlier order, the apex court had restricted the entry of trucks not bound for Delhi through NH1 and NH8.  However, the court allowed entry of such vehicles which are Delhi-bound on payment of a pollution cess.

Private carmakers, in their pleas, had sought modification of the top court’s December 16 order, imposing the ban in the wake of alarming air pollution particularly during the winter season. Toyota cited its hybrid models such as the Prius, priced at about Rs 40 lakh, as a case in point while M&M spoke about its electric model Reva.

While doubling the environment compensation charge (ECC) for loaded commercial vehicles entering Delhi, the court had imposed a blanket ban on registration of diesel vehicles of 2,000cc and above including SUVs in the National Capital Region (NCR), noting they are prone to cause higher pollution level and are used by the more affluent sections of society.

In a series of measures, the top court also asked the Centre to replace all government vehicles running on diesel, which are older than five years. The government was pulled up on Tuesday with the judges asking why it’s using diesel vehicles that are older than five years. “How can the government be a polluter?” the judges asked. “You are using vehicles older than five to 10 years. Are they not polluting, should they not be removed?”

The Supreme Court has also asked the Delhi government to not deny a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to ten-year-old diesel vehicles and 16-year-old petrol vehicles for being sold outside the NCR.

According to industry experts, about 400,000 units of diesel vehicles with two-litres or heavier engines are sold in the country annually and of these five to eight percent are sold in the NCR.
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