April 22, 2015 2:15:18 am
The Delhi government transport department on Tuesday called a meeting with different experts to frame its reply to NGT before the tribunal’s two-week stay on its orders to ban diesel vehicles of over 10 years ends on May 1.
Proposals discussed in the meeting included the correlation between the age of a vehicle and the level of emissions, increased registration for a second vehicle and retro-fitting older diesel vehicles.
Hours before the meeting, the department also began its first exercise to correlate the age of vehicles and emission levels. Only two of the 78 diesel vehicles tested at the Burari facility were over 10 years old.
Sources who attended Tuesday’s meeting after the check said the age of vehicle dominated most of the discussion. According to senior officials, the government is likely to present Tuesday’s data to say no “stark comparison” could be drawn between age of vehicles and emission levels, and that fixing age of the vehicle was the responsibility of the central government.
The meeting included officials from DDA, PWD, environment department, CPCB, traffic police, NDMC, the three municipal corporations, independent experts and representatives of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), besides three independent experts. A Transport department official said that the meeting lasted about two hours and a number of suggestions were discussed at length by various stakeholders.
“Various stakeholders gave their views regarding the implementation of the NGT order and also raised their concerns. Vehicle manufacturers, environmentalists, officials of land-owning authorities were all present at the meeting. At this stage, there are various suggestions but nothing is finalised. We will now deliberate over these suggestions and then take a decision,” he said.
Tuesday’s meeting sought to arrive at “complete, reasoned and scientifically supporting views related to age of vehicles, cap on the number of vehicles and higher registration and parking charges,” a senior government official told Newsline.
Sources said two agenda items including reducing the age of vehicles to 10 years and introducing some form of capping on the number of diesel vehicles registered was particularly opposed to by industry representatives and some experts.
“Proposals to oust these vehicles from the NCT region to NCR was also rejected…so this will require a measured view especially since the central government is responsible for fixing age of vehicles,” a source who attended the meeting said.
Sources said the transport department also put forward a proposal to ensure parking space in the owners homes. “A database of people who park vehicles on the roads will be maintained from the time of registration and they will be charged around Rs 5,000 per month as parking fee. The idea is to ensure people buy cars only when they have parking space,” a source said.
Sources said a proposal by the government to ask for research on converting old vehicles with poor engines to advance emission standards did not find favour, and was declared as “technologically not viable”.
Sources said the government is also likely to tell the NGT it will frame its own scrapping policy, putting onus on scrapping old vehicles on manufacturers like in several countries.
A proposal to provide compensation and benefits to people who scrap vehicles which do not conform to NGT standards was also discussed.
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