In a crucial judgment on Tuesday, the National Green Tribunal has brought down the curtains on diesel vehicles older than 10 years. What's more? The ambit of the ruling extends beyond the Capital to banish 'aged' diesel vehicles from neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana as well.
A bench of the green court, headed by its chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, ruled, "No diesel vehicles - light or heavy - over 10 years will be allowed to operate in Delhi-NCR. All registering authorities in Haryana, UP and Delhi would file a list of petrol vehicles more than 15 years old and diesel vehicles more than 10 years old before the tribunal and provide the same to the (state) police."
The court also tightened the noose around the Delhi government and its transportation department, giving it a terse 20 hours to set up pollution check booths at its border entry points post which local commissioners would personally verify.
The booths are to test that heavy vehicles conform with emission standards and rules related to overloading and age.
Further, the bench expressed its extreme displeasure at the Haryana government purportedly 'shifting dates' for completion of the Western Peripheral Expressway crossing Kundli, Manesar and Palwal that will take away 80,000 diesel trucks from Delhi's roads.
"Trucks enter Delhi every night," asserted a visibly upset Justice Swatanter Kumar, "And the city's sleeping population is compelled to inhale high Particulate Matter pollution causing serious health implications…Unfortunately, we find no response (from the authorities) in this regard…We hereby issue directions to governments of NCT of Delhi, UP and Haryana for speedy construction of the two bypass…they must also submit all original records (relating to the (Eastern Peripheral Expressway and Western Peripheral Expressway) to show what they have done to assure compliance with our orders."
The court also took serious cognisance of press reports, led by MAIL TODAY's campaign against air pollution starting March 31, on flagrant violation of NGT diktats on construction norms.
The court noted from newspaper reports, "Eight sites in Noida Extension, from NH 24 to Char Murti Chowk, have taken no measures to check dust from construction activities…Building dust is lethal in Gurgaon (on Golf Course Road)…and similar is the state in Delhi."
"We direct authorities in UP, Noida and Greater Noida, Haryana Urban Development Authority and state of Delhi to immediately stop construction activity at the reported sites. Compliance report is to be filed by April 9."
Continuing its drive to decongest Lajpat Nagar market, the court ordered, "Wherever jersey barriers have not been installed, ropes for dual carriageway must be put in place so that no U-turn is possible from one end of the market to other."