Delhi air pollution
Delhi air pollutionReuters

In a move to curb air pollution during the upcoming winter, the Delhi transport department has initiated a drive from Monday to seize vehicles older than 15 years.

With the air quality rapidly deteriorating, the enforcement wing of the transport department has taken legal action against 153 vehicles for not having Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates and another 158 vehicles that were found polluting the air in Delhi.

"Stubble burning in neighbouring states has begun and, as winters set in, pollution levels will worsen. Hence, we are starting a fresh drive of seizing diesel vehicles that are over 15 years and are parked in public spaces. For other vehicles, our enforcement teams have been directed to intensify checking PUC certificates and impound visibly polluting vehicles until Diwali," said transport minister Kailash Gahlot. He added that the drive will start in south Delhi.

According to the new 'Delhi Scrapping of Vehicles Rules, 2018', the vehicles detained during the drive will not be returned to owners, said the Delhi transport official. While the fine for the first offence is Rs. 1,000, the subsequent offence will charge Rs. 2,000.

"The vehicles will be handed over to state-run MSTC Limited for scrapping. Delhi Police is also being asked to impound such vehicles if found plying on roads. Besides, enforcement teams of municipal corporations and the transport department will also be imposing fines and impounding such vehicles," said a transport official.

As per the scrapping policy, the owners will be allowed to willingly give away old cars and two-wheelers to empanelled dealers against an assured amount. They can, alternatively, sell the vehicles outside the city, in states where the rule for diesel vehicles older than 15 years does not apply.

In 2016, IIT Kanpur had stated in its 'Comprehensive Study on Air Pollution and Green House Gases (GHGs) in Delhi' that vehicles add 20% of the utlra-fine pollutants, PM2.5, and up to 11% of Delhi's PM10 levels in the city's air.