Not extending ban on diesel vehicles to other cities: NGT

Not extending ban on diesel vehicles to other cities: NGT

Not extending ban on diesel vehicles to other cities: NGT

The National Green Tribunal today said that there was no plan to extend the ban on diesel vehicles prevailing in the national capital and Kerala to other cities across the country.

The clarification came from the green panel which said that as of now it was not planning to extend such ban and it would first examine the data received from different states on pollution levels in various cities.

The tribunal also directed all the concerned secretaries of all states to submit an affidavit within three weeks stating two most polluted cities within their territory, total population and vehicle density in each district.

"We are not banning any vehicles. We have asked state governments to submit a report on the pollution levels in various cities. Let that data come and then we will hear different parties and decide accordingly," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The observation came after Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for Ministry of Heavy Industries, asked the bench not to extend to other cities the ban on registration of vehicles beyond 2000 cc.

The ASG said that about eight per cent FDI under "Make in India" has come from the automobile industry and the sector generates employment opportunities and any restriction on it would have an adverse effect on the momentum of its growth.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures, opposed the idea of extending diesel ban to other metros and said diesel was not the only source of pollution.

"Sources of pollution are other than diesel vehicles as well. Other sources like dust and burning also contribute to the air pollution," Singhvi said.

To this the bench said,"In any case we have already said that there are primarily three sources of pollution, burning of waste and other materials, dust emission from other sources and vehicular pollution.

"That is why we want every state to react. We want every state to give response on each aspect. Let that data come to us and then we will hear the matter in detail," the bench said.

The tribunal had earlier taken state governments to task for not taking a clear stand on pollution and vehicle density in major cities in their jurisdiction and directed them to produce the information failing which bailable warrants will be issued against chief secretaries.

The green panel had directed Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal and Karnataka to apprise it about cities which have worst ambient air quality, total number of vehicles along with their bifurcation (diesel/petrol) and the total population in each city.

The tribunal had also rapped Central Pollution Control Board for submitting "half-baked" data on the population and vehicle density in major cities across the country. The CPCB report had indicated that ambient air quality in most of the cities was beyond permissible standards.

Noting that the air quality in metropolises was in violation to the prescribed standards, the tribunal had directed the apex pollution monitoring body to file comprehensive data on the population and vehicle density in major cities across the country.

It had taken note of air pollution in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Patna, Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Nagpur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Pune and directed states to file a comprehensive affidavit stating the steps taken by them for prevention and control of air pollution.

The tribunal, which was restrained by the Supreme Court from dealing with matters on air pollution in Delhi, had earlier expanded the ambit of hearing by seeking responses on worsening air quality in metropolises like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

On December 18 last year, the tribunal had refused to vacate its order banning registration of new diesel-run vehicles, saying it won't interfere with the Supreme Court order which has taken a similar stand.

In contrast to the prior NGT order banning registration of all diesel vehicles, the Supreme Court on December 16 exempted small ones and specified that the diesel-run SUVs and cars having engine capacity beyond 2000 cc would not be registered in Delhi and National Capital Region.

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