The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday, September 14, refused to lift the ban on 10-year-old diesel vehicles in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).
The tribunal dismissed Centre's plea seeking modification of its ban order and noted that a diesel vehicle causes pollution equalling to 24 petrol vehicles and 40 CNG vehicles. The Narendra Modi government, in its argument, had said that it cannot be proven that 10-year-old or more diesel vehicles cause pollution more than other kinds of fuel.
A bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar delivered the judgement on Thursday. Noting that diesel is the prime source of air pollution in Delhi, the NGT had banned the diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old and asked the RTO to de-register all such vehicles.
While many believed that the ban would turn fortunes of automakers as thousands of vehicles would go off the road, over a period of time, the carmakers will eventually have to move to greener vehicles that use alternative-fuel options.
It is also interesting to note at this point that the latest verdict comes at a time when the government is asking automakers to switch to alternative-fuel vehicles. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had recently said that automakers will have to move to vehicles that run on electricity, biodiesel, ethanol and compressed natural gas "whether they like it or not".
The government has also taken several measures to help push for the use of electric vehicles in the country. It has imposed the least tax on electric vehicles in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) slabs — new tax regime that came into effect on July 1. It would be interesting to see how the automakers respond to the latest verdict.