Time's up

The Supreme Court refuses to extend the deadline to phase-out 15-year-old commercial vehicles

Published: Thursday 15 October 1998

-- (Credit: Pradip Saha /CSE)THE Supreme Court (sc) has turned down the Delhi Government's plea for extending the deadline of October 2, 1998, to phase-out 15-year-old commercial vehicles. The Delhi government told the apex court that it would phase-out even 12-year-old commercial vehicles by March 1999, if the deadline was extended. A three-judge bench comprising Justice A S Anand, Justice B N Kripal and Justice V N Khare expressed its unwillingness to extend the deadline under any circumstances. The Delhi government had earlier got an extension from March 1998 to October 2. Delhi transport minister Rajendra Gupta refused to comment on the sc's decision, but indicated that they were preparing to respond to it.

Vehicles account for 69 per cent of the air pollution in Delhi. But the state government is dithering over the decision as assembly elections are round the corner. Official sources say that about 20,000 vehicles are likely to be affected by this decision. However, A S Khullar, additional director, transport, says: "The figure of 20,000 is based on road tax collection. But registration figures indicate 60,000 vehicles will be affected. The number will be go up to 100,000 if 12-year-old commercial vehicles are phased-out by March 1999".

The Delhi government has been dilly-dallying on this issue for a long time. In October 1997, the department of environment issued a notification under Section 20 of the Air Act, which stated that no commercial vehicles - including buses, trucks, and taxis - which are more than 15 years old, can ply on Delhi's roads after March 1998.

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