New Delhi: The centre on Monday moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking a stay on its order banning petrol vehicles older than 15 years and diesel vehicles older than 10 years in the Delhi-NCR region.

The road transport and highway ministry told the NGT bench headed by chairperson Swatanter Kumar that it would affect the public and essential services such as postal services and medical aid and sought six months to suggest ways to address air pollution.

The ministry told the NGT bench that the global best practice is to limit vehicles based on a fitness test, including emission checks, and not on the basis of age. “…Any stringent measure of ad hoc nature to ban vehicles on the basis of age will not provide any holistic solution to the pollution problem in India. The said issue is to be tackled in a comprehensive way at all levels," the ministry said in its plea.

The bench said that it will examine the matter. “Give us your views. We will go through it and pass appropriate orders. We are going to examine the matter," the NGT bench said.

The ministry said that the government was taking steps to check pollution and has drafted a comprehensive road transport and safety bill to address emissions, transportation and safety concerns.

The ministry in its plea said that it does not want undue hardship to ordinary people and that if the tribunal’s order was implemented, “the ultimate sufferers would be public who may not be to replace their vehicles with newer ones and their life and livelihood will get affected".

It said that several government departments involved in essential public services such as hospitals and municipal corporations have vehicles that are more than 10-15 years old. It also said that private transport carriage services also had vehicles that are more than 10 years old but in good condition.

“It is important to consider that a vehicle which is around two years old may have been driven for larger distance than an old vehicle which is more than 10 years old, thereby causing reduction in mechanical parameters. A well-maintained vehicle with higher designed mechanical parameters older than 10 years may emit much less harmful gases than one with lower design parameters and inferior maintenance," the ministry’s plea said.

The NGT had in November 2014 banned petrol vehicles older than 15 years from plying on Delhi-NCR roads and last month banned diesel vehicles older than 10 years.

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