New Delhi: Noting that Inland Container Depot at Tughlakabad (ICD/TK) is causing air pollution, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed it to phase out diesel vehicles within six months and asked it to submit an action plan on the issue within a month. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the depot has to adopt a policy to ensure that diesel vehicles are stopped from plying and they shift to electric, hybrid and CNG modes.
The green panel also rapped the depot for not furnishing an action taken report on phasing out of diesel vehicles. It noted that the depot handles about 3 lakh containers every year, leading to huge road congestion and air and noise pollution, especially when the fuel used is diesel, apart from creating parking problems. The bench said,
The depot has not furnished the requisite action plan. The only contention put forward is that it is not the responsibility of the depot to control the diesel vehicles and the cargo trucks visiting the depot.
It added, “We are unable to accept the submission. It is the business of the depot in connection with which the diesel vehicles are visiting. The depot has to adopt a policy of ensuring that, in a phased manner, diesel vehicles stop visiting the depot and they shift to electric, hybrid, and CNG vehicles.”
The tribunal said the other alternative is to limit the visit of diesel vehicles only to its satellite terminals at Dadri, Rewari, Ballabhgarh, and Khatuwas or any other such terminals so that the vehicles entering Delhi are not those run on diesel. The bench said,
This is expected to be achieved in a phased manner, if not straight away, within an upper limit of six months. Such an action plan may be filed by the depot within one month. It is made clear that after six months, the depot must ensure that no diesel vehicle visits the depot which may be the condition to permit the depot to continue to operate from the present location.
With regard to on site and off site emergency plan for the depot, the NGT was told that mock drills are to be carried out once in three months. The green panel said this is not satisfactory and such mock drills must be carried out at least twice a month and a compliance affidavit may be filed within a month on this aspect. It fixed May 14 for the next hearing.
On the issue of preparing carrying capacity assessment report, the tribunal noted that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is in the process of developing a methodology for the study. It said,
The study is to be carried out through Urban Mass Transit Company Limited (UMTC) as a pilot study. Since the order of the tribunal is more than four months old, the study had to be done in a time-bound manner. The same cannot be delayed beyond a point in view of the urgency of the situation.
“Tackling air pollution cannot remain pending. Let the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) furnish such study report, as far as possible, within one month,” it added. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by warehousing expert Ajay Khera, through advocate Sanjay Upadhyay, claiming that non-Delhi bound operations currently being carried out at ICD/TK were contributing to the alarming level of air pollution in the city and hence it should be shifted outside the capital. Khera had submitted in his plea that despite having a large area for parking of trailers, hundreds of trucks and container carriers, they are parked on the road outside ICD/TK, causing traffic jams.
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