The Delhi government was once again able to avert major trouble on Friday as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) granted it a second reprieve in the ban on 'over-aged' vehicles.
The green court, in an oral direction, extended its stay on the order to ban over 15-year-old petrol vehicles and over 10-yearold diesel vehicles till May 18.
The order came after the counsel for Ministry of Road Transport and Highways pleaded with the judge, Justice Swatanter Kumar, to continue the stay.
The previous stay was to expire on Saturday and would have resulted in impounding of personal vehicles and termination of several essential services in the city.
The number of private and commercial diesel vehicles older than 10 years in the city is over 1,53,000 while petrol cars and motorbikes over 15 years may amount to 28 lakh.
Diesel trucks carrying fruits, vegetables, milk and grains into Delhi from other states vary from 12-15,000.
Additional Solicitor General, Pinky Anand, appearing for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had submitted an application to the NGT on April 27, saying 'other solutions' must be explored for controlling vehicular pollution.
It had explained that only seven per cent vehicles in Delhi are over 10 years while the number of vehicles under 10 years is 93 per cent; so the former cause 'minimal pollution'.
Also, it had quoted from an IIT-Delhi study to advocate fitness tests and emission checks of vehicles for 'age-based' phasing out.
On April 13, the NGT had granted a two-week stay on its order to take petrol vehicles above 15 years of age and diesel vehicles over 10 years of age, off the roads.
On Friday, Anand said the government too wanted a stricter pollution regime to safeguard citizens' health.
However, it has not prescribed any age limit under Section 59 of the Motor Vehicle Act.
"There are certain realistic and unrealistic positions," she added. "Old vehicles do not automatically translate into excess miles. Even in a place like Latin America, they go by the number of kilometres covered rather than age," she added.
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