Is govt. not a polluter, asks SC

Bench asks Centre why it should not dump fleet of five- to 10-year-old diesel vehicles

January 05, 2016 07:27 pm | Updated September 22, 2016 10:12 pm IST - New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought parity from the government, asking why it should not dump its fleet of five to 10-year-old diesel vehicles and join forces with the citizen who is forgoing his personal comfort to fight pollution in the National Capital.

In a day-long hearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, who himself opted to car pool with fellow Supreme Court judge as a symbolic effort to curb pollution, the Supreme Court asked why the government apparatus required differential treatment from the citizen.

“How can the government be a polluter? Is the government of India willing to phase out five to 10-year-old vehicles running on diesel?” the apex court asked.

Further tightening its grip on the pollutant traffic inflow into Delhi from outside, the apex court ordered that entry points at National Highways 2, 10, 58 and State Highway 57 should be shut down for heavy commercial traffic not meant for Delhi. It has sought a field report in three weeks.

This step would work to limit traffic entering Delhi from neighbouring areas. This order adds to the entry restrictions imposed on commercial traffic on national highways 1 and 8 in its December 16 order.

The court refused to re-think its order giving NCR taxis time till March 31, 2016 to convert from diesel to CNG. Instead it suggested more CNG fuel stations and asked the government whether it could leapfrog from the existing Bharat Stage (BS) IV emission norms to BS-VI by 2017.

Aware that the odd-even policy implementation has led to cramped commuter space in public transport, the Bench suggested that the Delhi Metro should run some special premium coaches.

The next hearing is scheduled for January 20.

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