SC asks if ban on diesel vehicles may clear air

Apex court asks govt to come out with common plan

SC asks if ban on diesel vehicles may clear air

Noting that rising air pollution in the capital city is a “very serious matter”, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre, Delhi government and pollution control board to come out with a common minimum plan to deal with the situation.

A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and R Banumathi also sought to know if the situation could be improved by banning entry of all diesel-run trucks except those carrying essential goods.

Though the Union government maintained that banning diesel-run vehicles may not be the solution, the bench wondered if there is a meeting ground among various agencies to address the issue.

“This is a very very serious matter for people living in Delhi. There has to be multi-pronged strategy. It is earning bad name for the city in the world. It is very embarrassing for us when foreign dignitaries visiting Delhi speak about the capital's high pollution level,” the bench said, while relating the concern expressed by a foreign judge about the city's air pollution.

Senior advocate and amicus curiae Harish Salve submitted that diesel-run trucks, except those meant for Delhi, could be barred for a period of six weeks to ascertain its impact on the air quality.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for one of the civic bodies, claimed that apart from the diesel-run cars and trucks, building construction and burning of waste also polluted Delhi.
The bench, however, said, “There cannot be a single solution to this problem. There has to be a multi-pronged approach and suggestions to defuse the pollution crisis.”

The court also favoured the Delhi government’s proposal to allow odd and even number plate private cars to ply on alternate days from January 1 saying it is only an emergency measure. The court was hearing a plea by the toll collector of a drop in cess collection in view of the order to impose 'Environment Compensation Charge' (ECC) on commercial vehicles entering Delhi. The court fixed the matter for further consideration on Tuesday.

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