Delhi experiences high levels of air pollution in the winter months from October due to a multitude of factors including stubble burning and vehicular traffic. In order to control pollution, especially during the winter season, the Delhi government on Thursday banned the entry of medium and heavy vehicles in the national capital from October 1, 2022, to February 28, 2023. The decision comes in light of the possibility of an increase in pollution in Delhi during the coming winter season, the government noted.
The announcement comes a day after the Delhi government had urged Haryana to allow only BS VI-compliant buses to enter the national capital from October 1. Usually, entry of such vehicles, from trucks to mini tempos, is banned for only 15-20 days either in November or December in the national capital.
The letter written by O P Mishra, special commissioner, Transport, on June 15, said that the situation of air pollution in the national capital has attracted the attention of the Supreme Court and CAQM (Commission of Air Quality Management in Delhi and NCR), both of which have issued directions for effective regulation of air pollution and vehicular pollution.
According to reports, nearly 70,000-80,000 trucks enter Delhi every day. Vehicles that will be allowed into the city include CNG-run commercial vehicles; e-trucks; all trucks carrying essential goods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, eggs, ice, milk, and other food items; and tankers carrying petroleum products. Truckers and commercial vehicle associations have opposed the move, saying that those who deal with heavy vehicles will have to bear losses worth crores.
The Supreme Court, in its order on October 14, 2018, had directed that no motor vehicle conforming to the BS-IV emission standard shall be sold or registered in the entire country from April 1, 2020, and only BS-VI-compliant vehicles are permitted to be sold or registered in, the letter said. “It is important to mention that the public transport in Delhi has been switched completely to CNG, while buses plying from other states to NCT of Delhi continue to use diesel.
“For achieving a tangible result with respect to pollution, efforts of all the stakeholders including the neighboring states are needed, “Therefore, I seek your support to deal with the problem of Vehicular pollution by deploying only BS-VI compliant buses destined to Delhi w.e.f 01 10.2022,” it said.
Meanwhile, Rajendra Kapoor, president of All India Motor and Goods Transport Association, has said that banning entry of trucks in the capital for 15-20 days is acceptable, but four months is a long period and will impact transporters. “Businesses will be seriously affected. This will also impact the government’s revenue and might culminate in a hike in prices of food, vegetables, and other items,” he added.
He further said, “Why is the ban only for trucks? Why don’t you ban other diesel vehicles in Delhi? If diesel is a prominent pollutant, manufacturing of diesel vehicles should be banned. This is not a solution.”
The air quality index (AQI) of Delhi on Thursday was recorded in the moderate category at 131 at around 8.05 am data from CPCB showed. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.