To cut bad air, curbs on trucks entering Delhi from Nov to Feb

  • Last year, the Delhi government banned the entry of all trucks (except those carrying essential commodities) into the capital between November 17 and December 20, as the air quality started deteriorating to become severe (AQI more than 400).
Delhi govt to impose restrictions on goods trucks entering the capital from Nov-Feb to curb air pollution.
Updated on Jun 24, 2022 12:41 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

The Delhi government is likely to ban the entry of diesel-run goods carriers, except those transporting essentials such as vegetables, fruits and milk, from entering the Capital for four months between November 1, 2022 and February 28, 2023, in a move to combat air pollution in winter months, senior government officials said on Thursday and added that the transport department was preparing an order in this regard.

The order, however, was not notified till late Thursday evening.

Last year, the Delhi government banned the entry of all trucks (except those carrying essential commodities) into the Capital between November 17 and December 20, on the orders of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) as Delhi’s air quality started deteriorating to become severe (AQI more than 400).

Senior government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said unlike the previous year, this time the ban will be strictly focused on diesel-run heavy to medium vehicles, except those transporting essential items such as raw vegetables, fruits, grains, milk, eggs, and tankers carrying petroleum products.

The exceptions may also include CNG-run trucks and tempos and electric goods carriers, the officials added even as the final order was awaited.

“The CAQM has always asked governments to take proactive decisions or actions to curb air pollution. So instead of waiting for directions, the Delhi government this time has started preparing for winter pollution in advance. Therefore, this order of banning diesel-run goods carriers for a period of about four months is being drafted,” said a senior transport department official.

A second official said the reason behind issuing the order so early is to let all traders and transporters know well in advance about the rules that were to be implemented during the winter months.

“Every year, such orders are issued as an emergency measure during peak pollution months and it results in kilometres-long queues of trucks at all borders of Delhi. They have to be sent back since many of them say they were not aware of the restrictions. Transporters call it a knee-jerk reaction because they are not informed in advance. Now, they can plan their routes well in advance and take the eastern or western peripheral expressways, among other alternate routes that bypass Delhi. This is the reason why the order is being issued four months before its implementation,” according to the official.

Except for trucks having an all India permit, majority goods vehicles in Delhi run on CNG. So, the curbs will mostly affect the trucks coming from other states.

An analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in 2015 found that trucks contributed to around 30% of the total pollution due to vehicles in Delhi.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data from March 1 to May 11, 2022 shows Delhi recorded a total of 55 ‘poor’, 1 ‘very poor’, 16 ‘moderate’ and no ‘satisfactory’ or ‘good’ air quality days. In comparison, there were 35 ‘poor’ days and just three ‘very poor’ days during the same period last year.

An air quality index (AQI) of 0-50 is termed ‘good’, 51-100 is ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 is ‘moderate’, 201-300 is ‘poor’ and 301-400 is ‘very poor’.

In April, the Delhi government formulated a 14-point action plan to combat air pollution during summer even as experts called for long term plans to combat air pollution in the city.

Every year during winters, Delhi’s air quality deteriorates leading to a health emergency due to local, external emissions and meteorological factors such as poor wind speed and fog.

Earlier this week, Delhi transport department wrote to neighbouring states such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, urging them to ply only BS-VI emission compliant buses on their Delhi routes.

“The NGT has already directed that diesel vehicles of more than 10 years life will not be allowed to ply in NCR. It is important to mention that the public transport in Delhi has been switched completely to CNG, while buses plying from other states to NCT of Delhi continue to use diesel. For achieving a tangible result in respect of control on pollution efforts of all the stakeholders including the neighbouring States are needed,” OP Mishra, special commissioner (operations), transport, said in the letter written to the Haryana government.

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    Sweta Goswami writes on urban development, transport, energy and social welfare in Delhi. She prefers to be called a storyteller and has given voice to several human interest stories. She is currently cutting her teeth on multimedia storytelling.

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