Green Tribunal bans diesel vehicles above 10 years on Delhi roads

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned the plying of diesel vehicles over 10 years old on Delhi's roads, giving a much needed fillip to vehicle manufacturers starved of fresh orders.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar passed the order and noted that countries like Denmark, Brazil, China and Sri Lanka are in the process of banning diesel vehicles altogether.

"We may mention that a number of countries in the world are in the process or have prohibited diesel vehicles or are in the process of doing away with them by imposing very heavy taxes. We have already noticed that certain stringent measures need to be taken to ensure that residents of the area do not travel closer to ill-health with each breath they take," said the bench.

"We direct all diesel vehicles, heavy or light, which are ten years old will not be permitted on the roads of Delhi and NCR," it directed.

The tribunal directed the transport department of Delhi and other concerned authorities to prepare a comprehensive data of registration of all diesel vehicles that are 10 or more years old.

The bench also pulled up the authorities for not complying with its various orders last year to improve the air quality standards of the capital.

"All authorities and the state have utterly failed to comply with the directions of the tribunal. Authorities have not even initiated action for compliance.

"Due to the increasing pollutants of air, the life of residents of NCR Delhi is becoming more vulnerable to various diseases and the greatest sufferers are young children," it said.

"It has been pointed out that diesel is the prime source of bringing air pollution in Delhi. Diesel fumes cause damage to the lungs, brain and can cause even cancer. The situation is so alarming that medically people have been even advised to leave Delhi," the tribunal said.

The tribunal's direction came while hearing a petition of Vardhaman Kaushik who had contended that "the level of particulates in Delhi is rising manifold".

According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Delhi has the worst air quality in the world while 12 other Indian cities also figured among the world's worst 20.