Diesel-run commercial vehicles aged 10+
Ban on commercial vehicles aged more than 10 years, which looks imminent after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) rap in Delhi on Monday.
KOLKATA: The ban on commercial vehicles aged more than 10 years, which looks imminent after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) rap in Delhi on Monday, is expected to give Kolkata relief from toxic fumes these vehicles spew. Nearly, 25,000 commercial vehicles across all categories are likely to be pulled out of the system in Kolkata metropolitan area, a transport department offiicer said on Tuesday.
On Monday, the green bench had asked chief secretary Rajiva Sinha to comply with the order that makes it mandatory to scrap commercial vehicles attaining 10 years of age. In the 2018 order, NGT had also banned petrol vehicles older than 15 years. The Supreme Court later endorsed the order.
Since 90% of the commercial vehicles are diesel-run, the city would be relieved from a huge diesel exhaust. “The city gets routinely plagued by sudden jump in particulate pollution in winter because of diesel-run vehicles. Kolkata is the country’s diesel capital as well as the lung cancer capital. The scrapping of 10-year-old diesel vehicles will immensely benefit the air quality, which has been degrading every year,” said environmentalist Subhas Datta.
The American Lung Association study has revealed that the diesel exhaust contain 40 toxic air contaminants, 21 of which are carcinogenic. “We have to get rid of diesel vehicles at any cost. Most of the global cities have developed road map for complete phasing out of diesel vehicles. But Kolkata does not have such a plan. KMC has been dangling the CNG carrot for too long. CNG is a clean fuel. But there is no hope that CNG would immediately be used as an alternative for diesel,” added Datta.
But the scrapping, said a section of transport department offical, would not go without an impact on public transport. Two sectors of public transport that are going to be hit adversely are private buses and taxis. “The ban on vehicles aged more than 15 years was a body blow to us. But if the cut-off age of a bus is reduced to 10 years, it would be worse. More than half of our buses have to go off the road. Why are we not being allowed to adopt cleaner technology to reduce the exhaust?” asked Tapan Bandyoopadhyay, secretary of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates.
Cabbies are likely to feel the heat even more. “More than 80% of yellow cabs have attained 10 years of age. So the death warrants will come too sooner. Many operators have to exit the trade as it would not be possible to buy new vehicles. The yellow taxi trade is in major doldrums ever since app cabs have invaded our business. It seems we are in for more trouble,” said Sanjib Roy of the Bengal Taxi Association.
Besides, buses and taxis, a large number of goods vehicles, government vehicles and ambulances will be scrapped because of the new cut-off age for diesel vehicles.