The national capital Delhi’s annual face-off with pollution is back and so are the bans on various kinds of vehicles. The government of Delhi and the Commission of Air Quality Management (CAQM) have decided to implement the GRAP-III (Graded Response Action Plan), which will ban all BS3 petrol vehicles and BS4 diesel cars from plying on the roads of Delhi until further notice.
The Delhi police are keeping a close eye on every car and are issuing heavy fines on the vehicles that are not following the directives. The ban is applicable in Delhi and neighbouring areas including Gurugran, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar.
Similar fines were implemented last year as well during the same period. Numerous vehicles were issued a challan of Rs 20,000 last year during the drive. The ban lasted a few days till the AQI came down to a satisfying level.
Commission for Air Quality Management said,
“Keeping in view the prevailing trend of air quality, in an effort to prevent further deterioration of the air quality, the CAQM decides that ALL actions as envisaged under stage III of the GRAP -‘Severe’ Air Quality (DELHI AQI ranging between 401-450) be implemented in right earnest by all the agencies concerned in the NCR, with immediate effect, in addition to the stage I and II actions already in force”
The pollution in Delhi has crossed the 600 mark and has become hazardous. With the festivities of Diwali approaching, the state government has taken measures to lower the pollution levels through initiatives.
The GRAP implementation will also restrict the movement of diesel commercial vehicles, with the exception of those engaged in essential services. Delhi state has also banned entry of private buses from other states with BS4 certifications. If the situation deteriorates, these bans may be expanded to enforce a ban on other vehicles as well.
Owners of vehicles including cars, SUVs or two-wheelers with a minimum of BS6 certification, are permitted to operate during the GRAP implementation.
GRAP stages are based on AQI
The air quality in Delhi-NCR is classified into four stages based on the GRAP: Stage I – ‘Poor’ (AQI 201-300), Stage II – ‘Very Poor’ (AQI 301-400), Stage III – ‘Severe’ (AQI 401-450), and Stage IV – ‘Severe Plus’ (AQI >450). Until the air quality index falls to Stage 1 or below, non-BS6 diesel and BS3 petrol cars are unlikely to be permitted entry into Delhi.
The National Capital Region, including Delhi, has been grappling with severe air quality levels that are often deemed hazardous due to stubble burning in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. This situation persists each year, and despite government promises to put an end to this highly polluting act, stubble burning continues. Although private vehicle owners contribute minimally to air pollution when compared to construction, allied industrial activities and stubble burning, governments typically regulate private vehicle usage as compliance is relatively easier to enforce.
According to the guidelines set by the National Green Tribunal, the use of diesel-powered cars older than 10 years and petrol-powered cars older than 15 years is prohibited in New Delhi. To enforce this rule, the registering authorities and RTO offices in New Delhi have the authority to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the transfer of these older vehicles to other states where this ban is not currently in effect. It is important to note that this ban is still in place and being enforced.