January 16th: "We have submitted the proposal and I am expecting that we will get approval as early as possible for the scrapping policy," the Road Transport and Highways Minister said, at the "Atmanirbhar Bharat Innovation Challenge 2020-21" event.
A final call in this regard, however, will be taken by the Prime Minister's Office. The PMO had earlier sent the proposed policy for a fresh round of consultation with stakeholders.
To: Delhi Traffic Police
Fine Smoky Vehicles
1) Fine vehicles on the spot with a smoky exhaust.
2) Increase the Pollution Not Under Control penalty (177 DMVR) above the current fine of Rs. 100.
Why is this important?
Incomplete combustion and release from vehicle exhausts is arguably the biggest contributor to the perennial and life-threatening pollution levels in Delhi at around 30%. The PM 2.5 causes significant health problems from asthma to dementia and the Soot (black carbon) released from exhausts is a highly potent greenhouse contributor. There are a significant number of vehicles on Delhi's roads with outdated pollution certificates emitting visibly dark smoke out of their exhaust pipes.
- Vehicles manufactured before 2005 release 4.3% of all smoke in Delhi. (urbanemissions.info)
- Commercial vehicles manufactured before 2000 release 10% of all the greenhouse gas emissions from the road transport sector. (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways)
- A BS-I diesel car (pre-2000) emits 31 times more particulate matter than a BS-VI diesel car and a BS-II diesel car (pre-2005) emits 17 times more PM than a BS-VI counterpart.
- Only 23% of vehicles of all categories in turn up for emissions tests in Delhi. (CSE India)
The Odd-Even Rule - has it helped?
Since 2016 the state government has implemented an “odd-even rule”, which allows vehicles within license plate numbers ending with an even or odd digit to ply on roads on alternating dates. However, its scant implementation and many exceptions granted mean it has not been very effective. When active, the rule has been estimated to reduce pollution only by 10%. Its impact will steadily decrease over years as India comes out of relaxes COVID-19 restrictions and more fossil-fueled vehicles are released onto Delhi’s roads.
What about the Scrappage Policy?
The upcoming Scrappage Policy (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways) is supposed to eliminate both private and commercial vehicles older than 15-20 years old, with financial incentives given to the owners to buy vehicles that comply with approved emissions norms. It has been discussed and drafted over the last two years and has yet to be finalized. As of November 2020, Minister Nitin Gadhkari has been meeting with Mr. Kenichi Ayukawa (President of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) to discuss boosting the automobile sector, with the scrappage policy part of the agenda.
However, Delhi cannot wait until the scrappage policy is fully implemented. It is important to take action right away and get these vehicles off the roads. Imposing on-the-spot fines will help ramp up the pressure.
The objective of this campaign is to foster a zero-tolerance mindset towards the vehicles that we clearly see polluting the air we breathe in and demand heavy penalties or their removal off roads through this petition. Due to our focus on the most polluting vehicles, this can be a very simple and effective step to significantly reduce the polluted air in Delhi.