‘Pulling out old diesel vehicles won’t help air’
The plan to retire diesel trucks and buses older than 15 years may have started because of growing concerns over Delhi’s air pollution but phasing out these vehicles will have almost no impact in the capital and its adjoining regions as the National Green Tribunal(NGT) has already banned plying of diesel-run heavy vehicles over 10 years in the National Capital Region.
Trucking industry insiders claimed the central government was “exploiting” the NGT order. They said the government’s commitment to the tribunal to come out with a voluntary vehicle retirement policy was intended to push sale of new trucks and benefit the automobile industry.
“First of all, most such old vehicles don’t ply in the NCR. Second, most of them have moved to remote parts where air pollution is not an issue. The government is using Delhi’s air as a ploy to cull all old trucks across the country, posing a serious threat to the livelihood of small truckers in districts and rural areas,” said S P Singh of IFTRT, a think tank on transport issues.
The automobile industry has been pushing for mandatory retirement of old trucks since 2012 and has not been successful so far.
Early this year, the road transport ministry had come out with a draft voluntary vehicle retirement scheme where it had proposed to cover all types of old vehicles that were registered before 2005 and their number could be 28 million.
But finally, it is pushing phasing out of only trucks and buses that are over 15 years. TOI first reported this on December 15 mentioning how the government was looking at taking out at least 10 lakh such vehicles off the roads.