New Delhi: Will the Supreme Court on Wednesday impose a ban on registration of new SUVs and high-end diesel cars in the national capital? That's the question on everyone's mind who lives in Delhi and surrounding regions.
An indication to this effect was given by the Supreme Court yesterday when it said that the rich can't be allowed to keep on driving diesel-driven SUVs that pollute the environment.
The court also slammed car manufacturers who had knocked at its doors against the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order banning registration of diesel cars in the capital.
"People's life is at stake and you are interested in selling cars," Chief Justice of India TS Thakur was quoted as saying by NDTV.
During the hearing yesterday, the apex court indicated that it may ban registration of diesel-run SUVs, cars with engine capacity of over 2000 cc and commercial vehicles for three to four months.
The court is also mulling to increase by 100 per cent the green cess or environment compensation charge (ECC) levied on trucks entering Delhi and using its roads as a transit for their onward journey to destinations outside the national capital.
In October, the court had imposed an ECC of Rs 700 on light duty vehicles and Rs 1,300 on three-axle vehicles seeking to enter Delhi. The ECC is in addition to the toll tax charged from such commercial vehicles.
Now, that charge may go up to Rs 1400 and Rs 2,600, respectively.
It is likely that the court may also today ban entry of commercial vehicles, registered prior to 2005, in Delhi.
Further, only CNG cabs may be allowed to run on Delhi roads and the ban on burning of the municipal waste be enforced strictly, besides introduction of Euro-IV emission norms.
It may be noted that the orders to be passed by the apex court today will likely remain in force only till March 31, 2016.
During the three-hour-long hearing yesterday, the Supreme Court bench indicated support to the odd-even formula proposed by the Delhi government to tackle growing air pollution in the national capital, which is now being described as 'a gas chamber'.
“We have not stopped you from implementing odd-even formula. If you believe this is the way forward, then go ahead and implement,” the court told the Delhi government.
The court yesterday also asked the counsel representing the Centre and the Delhi government to come out with comprehensive long- and short-term plans to curb air pollution.
"Why don't you people take credit of cleaning Delhi air? You could enumerate the steps to be taken and why you are asking the court to do it," it said.
The Delhi government has announced that it will implement the odd-even formula for cars in the capital from January 1. The formula will first be tried till January 15 and will be extended after an assessment.