The Delhi government has initiated the process of deregistering over 15 year old diesel vehicles in the country, as air pollution levels reach an all-time high in the capital. The process will cover around two lakh vehicles. Schools in Delhi have been shut for three days now, while construction and demolition has come to a halt and a power plant closed owing to toxic smog blanketing the city since Diwali. In view of the situation, the latest directive has been issued by after a meeting chaired by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung.
Taking a note of the situation, the city government, for the first time has issued a health advisory asking people to avoid visiting highly polluted areas and those with lung problems to not venture out for any activities. Earlier this year in July, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked the Delhi Government to deregister all diesel vehicles over 10 years old. However, it was later decided that the deregisteration process will be undertaken in a phased manned, starting with the vehicles which are already over 15 years old. Earlier this year the NGT ban on over 10 year old diesel vehicles could not be enforced at a larger level, however given the current situation, it is likely that that next deregisteration phase might include 10-year old diesel vehicles as well.
Recently, the government had once again allowed registering new diesel vehicles powered by over 2.0-litre capacity in the capital by paying an additional 1 per cent as environment cess. Post Diwali celebration, the pollution levels in Delhi and NCR region has reached an all-time high with residents complaining about breathing problems and itching in the eyes. Additionally, farm fires in the neighboring states of Haryana and Punjab has aggravated the smog issue.