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NGT bans 10-year-plus diesel vehicles in Kerala

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 23, 2016

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Will apply in six cities; State transport body, private bus operators unhappy



In an order that has shocked vehicle owners in Kerala, the National Green Tribunal’s circuit bench at Kochi has banned plying of diesel vehicles older than 10 years.

This has put private bus operators, lorry owners and, more importantly, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, one-third of whose fleet is older than 10 years, in a tough spot.

The tribunal has also asked the State government not to register any more diesel vehicles above 2,000-cc capacity. Only vehicles for public transport and those to be used by local authorities have been exempted.

The order of the circuit bench of NGT’s Southern Zone Bench comes on a petition by the Lawyers Environmental Awareness Forum. NGT Chairman Swatanter Kumar and expert member Bikram Singh, in their order said: “We direct that all the diesel vehicles, whether light or heavy, which are more than ten years old, shall not be permitted to ply on the road in the major cities like Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur.” After a grace period of one month, vehicles found violating the order will be fined ₹5,000 as ‘environmental compensation’ and this fine will go into a fund that will be utilised for the ‘betterment of environment in these cities’.

Though the order mentions that the ban will be effective in the six largest cities of the State, the impact will be pan-Kerala. It will also affect trucks transporting goods from other States, especially Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Haryana.

Associations of truck owners, private bus operators and tourist vehicle owners were all unhappy with the order and their leaders came out strongly against the same.

State Transport Commissioner Tomin Thachankary told the media that the KSRTC might go in for an appeal against the NGT order in the Kerala High Court in a couple of days.

The NGT bench has also asked the State government to report to it on the availability of CNG for the running of vehicles in the entire State.

Published on May 23, 2016
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