New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday banned the registration of all diesel vehicles with over 2000 cc capacity in Delhi-NCR till March 31, 2016.
In a major step towards curbing growing air pollution in Delhi, the apex court announced several measures, including an order that all taxis in Delhi must be converted to CNG and that the pollution surcharge shall be doubled.
The apex court also ordered that all commercial vehicles, including trucks, which are not Delhi-bound, will not be allowed to enter the national capital through entry points NH-8 and NH-1. Delhi Police will come up with alternate routes for such commercial vehicles, the court said. Further, all commercial vehicles including trucks registered before 2005 will not be allowed to enter the capital even if bound for Delhi.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that 'rich people can't go round in SUVs polluting the environment' and added that it was considering banning new diesel-guzzling luxury cars and SUVs from hitting Delhi roads. It asserted that it would not allow the rich to buy such vehicles that pollute the air and affect public health.
The Supreme Court has said that diesel cars are sending out toxic fumes, and therefore, it was being forced to impose a ban on registration of 2000 cc and over vehicles.
The judges said it is now clear that they will consider the option of an environment compensation charge on all diesel vehicles when the court meets again in January.
"The last issue that the court has very clearly directed for is all the other measures that will help us reduce pollution through dust control and ban on garbage burning. I think it is very critical to understand that today's order must now be implemented by the central government and the Delhi government in spirit and in action. All taxis in NRC will move to CNG not later than March 31. And the seriousness of this matter is not to be taken for granted," environmentalist and political activist Sunita Narain told media here.
"The second part of the order is that they have also said that the Union and the Delhi government must work out the modalities so that only trucks registered in 2005 or after will enter Delhi. No trucks which are older, and therefore, more polluting, will enter Delhi. The third part of the order is that there is now a ban on the registration of diesel vehicles above 2000 cc across NCR," she added.
Around 23 per cent of the cars registered in Delhi are diesel. Diesel cars can legally emit 7.5 times more particulate matter than the petrol versions and produce more toxic nitrogen dioxide. Diesel emissions are also cancer causing, says the World Health Organisation.