As winter approaches and Delhi braces for the debilitating pollution that comes along with it, the transport department has started its bid to curb vehicular emissions. The Delhi transport department started a drive on Monday to confiscate, deregister and scrap diesel vehicles that are more than 15 years old. As per the new Delhi Scrapping of Vehicles Rules, 2018, the seized vehicles will not be returned to the owners.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, a transport official said that the vehicles will be handed over to state-run MSTC Limited for scrapping. Delhi Police has also been asked to impound such vehicles if found plying on roads. Additionally, municipal corporations and transport department enforcement teams will also impose fines and impound such vehicles.
"Stubble burning in neighbouring states has begun and, as winters set in, pollution levels will worsen. Hence, we are starting a fresh drive of seizing diesel vehicles that are over 15 years and are parked in public spaces. For other vehicles, our enforcement teams have been directed to intensify checking pollution under control (PUC) certificates and impound visibly polluting vehicles until Diwali," said Kailash Gahlot, transport minister.
According to government data, Delhi has over 10 million registered vehicles, out of which 3,70,000 are older than 15 years. The data also shows that 2,23,000 diesel vehicles have been deregistered since January 2016 in compliance with the National Green Tribunal order that disallows diesel vehicle older than 15 years to run. According to the NGT order such vehicles cannot even be parked in public spaces. It must be mentioned that most houses in Delhi do not have their own parking and hence resort to parking in public spaces.
Owners can, however, give away old cars and two-wheelers to empanelled dealers against an assured amount, the city's scrapping policy dictates. The policy also states that scrap dealers with scrapyards of at least 1,000 square yards in non-residential areas in Delhi-NCR certified by the Delhi Pollution Committee must be issued licences.
Owners can also sell these vehicles outside Delhi where the policy is not implemented.
In a study in 2016, IIT Kanpur said that vehicles contribute 20% of PM2.5, the ultra-fine pollutant in Delhi's air. It also adds up to 11% of PM10 levels in Delhi. Diesel vehicles are far more polluting in terms of gaseous emissions like nitrogen oxide, a Class-1 carcinogen.
The transport department has already issued 311 challans - 153 for PUC vehicles and 158 for 'visibly polluting' vehicles. Gahlot urged citizens to get their PUC certificate and fitness certificate renewed on time.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)