New Delhi, Dec 11: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday said that no new diesel vehicles would be registered in the national capital.
This would be an interim step till the next date of hearing on January 6, the tribunal said. According to experts, there are about five lakh diesel cars in Delhi.
The tribunal also questioned the Delhi government's odd-even formula for vehicles to check air pollution, and said the move may not achieve the desired results. The NGT also said that the odd-even formula may force people to buy two cars.
The Delhi government had announced that private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers will ply on odd and even days of the week from January 1, with no such restrictions on Sundays.
"In view of serious contribution of vehicular pollution to the air quality of National Capital Region of Delhi, it is important that the government should take a serious view and a decision on whether any diesel vehicle, old or new, should be registered in Delhi," a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
"As an interim measure till the next date of posting subject to hearing of all the concerned parties, we direct that diesel vehicles of more than 10 years of age as already directed, as well as new diesel vehicle would not be registered in NCR Delhi," the bench said.
The tribunal directed the Centre and state governments to consider not to buy diesel vehicles for use.
"We direct all public authorities, corporation, Delhi Development Authority, police and other public departments to prepare an action plan for phasing out diesel vehicles, particularly trucks, used by all these bodies," the bench added.
It also directed that the action plan must be placed before the tribunal on the next date of hearing.
"Although diesel vehicles pollute more than petrol cars, you cannot stop people from buying them. The demand for petrol cars will go up," Vikram Tongad, founder-president of non-governmental organisation, Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), told IANS.
"It is a short-term measure," he added.
A government official said they will take appropriate action after going through the order.
On the issue of waste-burning in the open, the tribunal said: "We direct all the corporations, DDA, cantonments and SHOs of police stations concerned that they would ensure that no waste is burnt in the open and none is disobeying the directions."
The penalty for burning waste in the open is Rs.5,000.
"We also direct that builders who keep their dust, sand, cement, bricks and other construction materials on public place and roads, as per the directions of the tribunal already issued, would not be permitted to do so," it said.
Besides seizure of such materials under the provision of the Municipal Corporation Act of Delhi, they would be liable to pay environmental compensation of Rs.50,000 for each violation, the tribunal added.
Delhi has close to 90 lakh registered vehicles, of which almost a third are cars. Around 1,500 new vehicles are added every day.
In April, the tribunal banned diesel vehicles of over 10 years old in the capital city.
In November 2014, the bench banned all vehicles that were more than 15 years old.