The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, or EPCA, on Friday moved the court, seeking to stop the sale of Bharat Stage-IV (BS-IV) compliant vehicles after the 1 April 2020 cutoff.
A bench headed by justice Madan B. Lokur sought a response from the government and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) on the issue within three weeks. The court was responding to a recommendation by EPCA in its comprehensive action plan for air pollution control, drafted to meet ambient air quality standards in the National Capital Region (NCR), as well as the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. EPCA told the court to ensure registration of only vehicles that were compliant with BS-VI norms from 2020 to ensure a smooth transition to the cleaner fuel.
In its comprehensive plan, EPCA has recommended introduction of battery-operated vehicles in targeted segments and sought planning of infrastructure for battery charging and disposal.
It has also proposed tightening pollution-under-control (PUC) norms for post-2000 vehicles and an upgrade of emission testing for in-use diesel vehicles.
EPCA’s 52-page plan, which Mint has reviewed, pushes for bus rapid transit system (BRTS)/light rail transit system (LRTS) to be implemented for targeted high-frequency routes and considering feasibility of BRT/LRTS link between Delhi and other NCR towns. It highlights the need for tax measures to nullify incentives for petrol and diesel cars.
Strategies to reduce vehicles on roads include measures such as augmentation of buses, metro services, upgrading IT systems in buses, bus stops and control centres for reliability of bus services, and multi-level parking for buses.
A timeline for implementation has been sought from the concerned authorities—Delhi transport department, Delhi Transport Corporation and Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd.
EPCA also lays down an action plan for developing a non-motorized transport (NMT) network and control measures for road and construction dust.
On 29 March, the apex court ruled that vehicles not compliant with BS-IV emission standards cannot be sold after 31 March.
Concerns over vehicular pollution prompted the government last year to proclaim that India will move up to the toughest automobile emission standards of BS-VI by 2020, skipping an intermediate level.