Transport officials seize over 2,000 end-of-life vehicles
The seizures are a fraction of 5.3 million vehicles that have been automatically deregistered
The Delhi transport department has seized at least 2,000 vehicles that reached the end of their legal life in a crackdown that resumed late last month, impounding both vehicles in use and those parked at public places, officials aware of the matter said on Friday.
The seizures are a fraction of an estimated 5.3 million vehicles that have been automatically deregistered in line with a Supreme Court-affirmed National Green Tribunal ruling that banned petrol and CNG vehicles older than 15 years and diesels older than 10 years from being used in the National Capital Region (NCR) over air pollution concerns.
The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) wrote to the transport department in the last week of May citing the NGT and SC orders, following which the drive was relaunched on May 29 following a short halt.
“The crackdown was relaunched and is going on in full swing. Around 15 teams are active in the field and each team comprises three to four transport enforcement officials. We want to make people aware that they should send their overage vehicles for scrapping. If the transport enforcement teams find overage vehicles plying in the streets or if they find these parked in public places, such vehicles will be impounded by the enforcement teams,” a transport department official part of the enforcement action said, requesting anonymity.
To be sure, vehicular emissions contribute only around 9% of the PM10 load and around 20% of the PM2.5 load in Delhi, according to a 2016 study by IIT, Kanpur. Particles formed due to smoke from industries and various other sources and burning of garbage were the two main contributors to air pollution in winters, according to preliminary findings of the Delhi government’s real-time source apportionment study in January.
“Around 50% of the total overage vehicles impounded and sent for scrapping till now in the Capital were seized from south Delhi and 60% of all overage vehicles seized so far were cars while 40% were bikes,” a second official said, asking not to be named. “It is common to see overage vehicles parked on the streets in different areas of south Delhi. Our teams are active in all parts of Delhi, but in north, east, and west Delhi, the number of overage vehicles seems to be smaller as compared to south Delhi,” this person added.
A zone-wise break-up of the impounded vehicles data was not immediately available with the transport department. HT first reported in October 2022 that the Delhi government deregistered more than 5.3 million overage vehicles between 2018 and 2022.
Deregistration immobilises vehicles from a legal standpoint and ensures that they cannot be lawfully used. Deregistered vehicles cannot be sold and the insurance of such vehicles cannot be purchased. Before intensifying its drive at the end of May, the transport department, according to data seen by HT, seized 2,295 vehicles in April. The crackdown stopped on May 3 after the transport minister’s order and resumed on May 29 after directions from CAQM. The transport department has reached out to the CAQM for clarity on the legal aspect after the minister issued the order, a senior official said.
Experts said while many countries are choosing to phase out older vehicles, policy decisions are imperative in controlling emissions.
“Technology is evolving and hence newer vehicles have better emission control. Countries around the world are phasing out older vehicles. However, emission also depends on various other factors like maintenance, fuel, type of usage etc. We have to have much more detailed studies on real-world emissions of motor vehicles to take more robust policy decisions,” said Amit Bhatt, managing director, India of the International Council on Clean Transportation.