NATIONAL

Panel to study vehicular pollution

Bad for economy:The NGT order to ban diesel vehicles over 10 years old would cripple Kerala’s transport sector.  

The Union government has agreed to form committees to suggest measures to mitigate the environmental fallout of vehicular pollution in the country, according to Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran.

The committees will help the States and the Centre strike a balance between their transport and environmental requirements.

NGT decision

Mr. Saseendran met Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi on Saturday against the backdrop of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s decision to ban diesel vehicles of over 10 years from plying in six cities of Kerala. The tribunal had also banned the State from registering diesel powered vehicles having more than 2-litre engine capacity in Kerala. The Kerala High Court has since stayed the orders.

Mr. Sasindran told the Centre that the tribunal order would adversely impact Kerala’s economy.

As per the motor vehicles rules, the government had collected advance tax for 15 years on all diesel vehicles registered in the State since 2007.

The implementation of the NGT order to ban those over 10 years would entail repaying the owners an estimated Rs. 300 crore.

‘Crippling effect’

Moreover, the order would cripple the State’s transport sector. More than 4,000 KSRTC buses and lakhs of private vehicles would go off the roads. Movement of people and goods would be negatively impacted. Travel would prove to be costlier for the common man. So would transport of goods. He said the Centre required Kerala to shift more to CNG, biofuel and electric hybrid powered motor vehicles in the long run. For one, the Indian automobile industry was poised to launch lithium battery powered hybrid motor vehicles.