Ban on registry of higher-capacity diesel vehicles arbitrary, SC told

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) The Supreme Court was told on Saturday that the its banning of diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2,000 cc or more was arbitrary as there was no “established” link between engine capacity and the emission levels.

Telling the bench of Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice R. Banumathi that diesel vehicles with engine capacities of 2,000 cc or more were being wrongly targeted for deteriorating air quality in the national capital, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), said the real culprits were older pre-BS I, BS I and BS II diesel vehicles emitting more pollution.

“To reduce emission from diesel vehicles, the most effective way is to ban/phase out/penalise the older BS I, BS I and BS II vehicles that emit several times of what a BS IV vehicle emits,” he said in the course of the hearing of plea by SIAM seeking the lifting of the ban imposed by the top court as a measure to curb deteriorating air quality.

The Supreme Court by its December 16 order had imposed a blanket ban on registration of diesel vehicles of 2,000 ccA and above including SUVs in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Though Saturday is a non-working day for the court, but Chief Justice Thakur decided to hold the hearing on it to save time on other working days.

Apparently supporting the position taken by the automobile manufacturers, the central government said that a balance had to be struck between protecting environment and the manufacturing activities.

The government is committed to a balanced approach to protect the environment on one hand and simultaneously protect and encourage manufacturing in India and also guard jobs, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said.

Singhvi took the court through the report of the study undertaken by the IIT Kanpur which says that of the total pollution in Delhi, vehicular emission – of all commercial, passenger, 2, 3, & 4 wheelers – accounted for just 20 percent.

Road dust was the biggest contributor with 38 percent, industries were responsible for 11 percent, municipal solid waste, diesel generation sets and other reasons accounted for 13 percent, domestic activities 12 percent, and concrete batching contributed 6 percent.

Making a case for the lifting of the ban, Singhvi said that based on the study by the IIT at the instance of the Delhi government, of the total particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) in Delhi, all the passenger cars were contributing only 2 percent.

And out of this, diesel passenger cars of all emission level running in Delhi were contributing 1.5 percent, with the share of 4W diesel cars just 0.5 percent of this.

Telling the court that it were the cars using petrol that were contributing to the greenhouse affect, Singhvi said that though branded as a “villainous fuel”, diesel caused far lesser CO, CO2 and HC emissions.

Singhvi will continue on the next hearing of the matter on May 9.

–IANS

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