Around two months after the imposition of Environment Compensation Charges (ECC) on vehicles entering Delhi, Supreme Court of India has issued fresh directions to help the residents of Delhi cope with the menace of pollution.
The directions were issued by a bench comprising of Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, and Justices AK Sikri and R Banumathi. While the Court was assisted by the amicus curiae Harish Salve, Union of India was represented by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and NCT of Delhi was represented by Wasim A Qadri.
The directions of Court can be summed up as follows:
Reduce traffic to Delhi
- No vehicle which is not bound for Delhi will be allowed to enter from N.H.-8 which connects Jaipur to Delhi and N.H.-1 that connects the States of Punjab, Haryana and other northern States to Delhi via Kundli border;
Traffic from the two entry points namely Kundli border on N.H.-1 and Rajokri on N.H.-8, shall be diverted to bypass Delhi through such alternative routes as the transport/traffic departments of the governments concerned may stipulate.
Empty/unladen commercial vehicles bound for Delhi, can enter Delhi on payment of the ECC at the earlier stipulated rate of ₹ 700 and ₹1300 for light and heavy vehicles resp.
- Delhi bound vehicles loaded with goods can enter Delhi on payment of ECC @ ₹1400 and ₹2600 for light and heavy vehicles resp.
Court has observed that in its opinion, aforesaid steps should discourage any vehicle trying to enter Delhi on a false pretext of the goods loaded on it being Delhi bound.
Diesel vehicles are devils
- Vehicles registered in the year 2005 or earlier shall not be allowed to enter Delhi. State Governments and Union Territories to ensure the same. Court has also asked the governments to evolve a suitable system for implementation of this direction.
- All taxis including those operating under aggregators like OLA and UBER in the NCT of Delhi, plying under city permits shall move to CNG not later than March 1, 2016.
Registration of SUVs and private cars of the capacity of 2000 CC and above using diesel as fuel shall stand banned in the NCR upto March 31, 2016.
It is noteworthy that diesel vehicles of 2000 cc and above and SUVs are generally used by more affluent sections of our society and because of the higher engine capacity are more prone to cause higher levels of pollution. A ban on registration of such vehicles will not therefore affect the common man or the average citizen in the city of Delhi.
Prevent dust, use vacuum cleaners for roads
- Government of NCT of Delhi to take immediate steps for repair of pavements and make pavements wherever the same are missing and also to take immediate steps for procurement of the requisite vacuum cleaning vehicles for use on Delhi roads expeditiously but not later than April 1, 2016.
- CPCB norms regarding prevention of pollution by putting curtains and other devices at construction sites must be strictly enforced by the enforcement agencies concerned.
No burning of solid wastes
State Government and the local bodies concerned including MCD, NDMC and all other institutions that are generating solid waste shall take steps to ensure that no part of such waste is burnt and that proper arrangements are made for disposal of such waste in a scientific way without causing any hazard to environment.
In relation to certain other suggestions mooted by NCT of Delhi, Court has observed that the same may be considered after counsel for Union of India and the amicus curiae Salve examine the same and make their submission.
Court shall next hear the matter on January 5, 2016.