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Home / Politics / Policy /  2.7 mn trucks to go off road from 1 April as govt proposes a ban

New Delhi: As many as 2.7 million trucks are expected to be taken off the road from 1 April when the government enforces a ban on trucks that are older than 15 years, according to vehicle registration data available with the roads ministry.

To be sure, it is possible that some of these vehicles may already have been defunct by now.

The step will create an immediate spike in demand for commercial vehicles as sales start to look up after a prolonged slowdown. During the April-October period, sales of commercial vehicles grew 8% to 373,000 units, while overall automobile sales grew 2.46% to 12.05 million units.

Environmentalists believe the move will also help reduce emission levels. As much as 30% of the total particulate pollution from the transport sector comes from trucks.

“We are going to make 15 years the end of the life for all commercial vehicles," Vijay Chhibber, secretary, ministry of road transport and highways, told Reuters news agency.

The order would be made public within 10 days and the ban enforced from 1 April.

Last week, the roads ministry said Bharat Stage V (BS-V) and Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) emission standards for two-wheelers, which were expected to be rolled out by 2022 and 2024, will now be introduced from 2019 and 2022, respectively.

“It makes sense to ban the trucks. They have not graduated to the BS-IV levels. The government’s decision will have to be pegged to a tighter emission standards," Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment.

A number of studies in the past few months have labelled Delhi as the world’s most-polluted city. A dozen other Indian cities figure among the 20 most polluted cities across the world.

Over the past few days, smog has covered the city-state as farmers in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana torch crop waste, flouting a ban.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to cut pollution at the Paris climate change summit this week. He sought a “comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement" at the global level.

A spokesperson for the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) declined to comment, requesting time until a government notification is made public.

A senior industry executive who spoke on condition of anonymity called the ban a “knee-jerk reaction". “In-principle, it is good but it is definitely not thought through. This step will impact the entire logistics movement. Beside, who will manage the scrap," the executive said.

However, Vinod Aggarwal, chief executive of Delhi-based Volvo-Eicher Commercial Vehicles Ltd, welcomed the move and urged the government to implement a programme similar to the US cash-for-clunkers scheme that offers consumers the option to trade in an old fuel-guzzling vehicle for a cashback on the purchase of a new fuel-efficient car.

“We have been asking for this. But the government needs to incentivize the truck owners so that they could upgrade to better products without any hassle," Aggarwal said.

The government move comes even as India’s first vehicle scrappage facility in Chennai is far from getting completed. The facility was proposed to be built in anticipation of a full-fledged vehicle scrappage policy.

Mint in December 2013 reported that the government was considering a cash for clunkers scheme that proposed concessions of up to 1 lakh in taxes if they sell vehicles older than 15 years.

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