The guidelines should make periodic testing of roadworthiness of vehicles mandatory and link the scrapping process to deregistration of vehicles
In a bid to reduce the number of ageing and polluting vehicles on the roads, the Delhi Government Transport Department, on August 24, issued guidelines for scrapping of end-of-life vehicles (ELV) in the national capital territory (NCT) of Delhi. Although the guidelines apply only to vehicles plying in the NCT, it is for the first time in India that such guidelines have been issued.
The Guidelines for Scrapping of Motor Vehicles in Delhi, 2018 will apply to all petrol vehicles older than 15 years, all diesel vehicles older than 10 years and any vehicle rendered inoperable by accident or otherwise. Age of a vehicle is indicative of declining fuel economy and increasing emission levels. Old diesel vehicles generate higher emissions and often dodge the norms.
Why scrappage guidelines
Formulated mainly to provide registered vehicle owners with authorised scrapping facilities to get their ELVs scrapped, these guidelines will enable enforcement agencies, including the Delhi Traffic Police, Municipal Corporations, New Delhi Municipal Council, Cantonment Board and the Transport Department, to confiscate any ELV found operational, or parked in a public place or discarded as junk.
Scrapping of an ELV would include its dismantling, safe disposal of its non-reusable components and issuance of a scrapping certificate to the registered owner of the ELV. As of now, there is no authorised scrapping yard in Delhi. However, Delhi government will soon begin the process of certifying such agencies. To be an authorised scrapper, the facility needs to have an office in Delhi and a scrapping yard spanning over not less than 1,000 sq yard (9,000 sq ft) in a non-residential, commercial or industrial area.
A certified scrapper should have the equipment needed for scientific removal of hazardous vehicle components like batteries, oils, and air bags, and has adequate storage facility to store the dismantled and contaminated spare parts. In addition, it should have a valid GST registration number, a PAN and Aadhaar card, and should have applied for health, safety and environmental compliance certificates. It also needs to comply with provisions of labour laws and the Minimum Wages Act to get authorised.
How are the guidelines helpful?
In the absence of any guideline, most discarded vehicles in the country end up at informal recycling yards that follow efficient but unscientific practices to recover economically valuable material from the discarded vehicle. Besides economically valuable materials, the ELVs also contain hazardous materials like lead acid batteries, lubricant oil and waste oil which, if not recovered or disposed properly, they could result in significant environmental contamination. Moreover, they may cause health hazards to the handlers.
Under the current guidelines, an authorised scrap yard could receive ELVs either from the registered owners or from any enforcement agency that has confiscated defaulting vehicles. The scrapper would be responsible for dismantling the vehicle, sending the video footage of the dismantling process to the Department of Transport and maintaining records of the vehicles scrapped. In the end, it issues a scrapping certificate to the registered owner.
Ideally, a vehicle owner should submit the scrapping certificate to the vehicle registration office to get the ELV deregistered. But the current guidelines do not link deregistration with the scrapping process. For instance, in Japan, a vehicle can get deregistered only after the vehicle registration office has been notified of the vehicle’s dismantling by an authorised facility. The local RTO should be intimated whenever a vehicle gets scrapped.
Are the guidelines breach-proof?
While age is indeed indicative of greater pollution potential, it should not be the only criterion to assess roadworthiness of a vehicle. Instead of factoring in only the age of a vehicle, the scrappage guidelines should make periodic testing of roadworthiness of vehicles mandatory. Any vehicle failing to comply with emission norms should be scrapped in accordance with the guidelines. However, currently, the roadworthiness or fitness checks are only required for commercial vehicles like buses, trucks, taxis and autos. Even the Pollution Under Control certification requires several reforms as pointed out by an EPCA study conducted in Delhi-NCR. Most European nations follow the above protocol.
Safeguards are needed to prevent illegal exports of ELVs to other countries because if the ELV owner finds better price he or she may opt for export rather than getting the vehicle scrapped. This could potentially happen in Delhi as well, because other states don’t have a scrappage policy in place yet. So, Delhi’s phased-out vehicles could end up elsewhere, where they will pollute.
Finally, the scrapping facility should have ample space to store the collected vehicles prior to their dismantling. There should be designated collection centres across the city, preferably in non-residential areas, which collect the discarded ELVs before they are sent to the scrap yard. For instance, in China, the collection of ELVs is organised by around 800 “take back stations” that are spread in bigger cities across the country.
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