"We are worried for future", the Supreme Court said on Friday, asking the municipal corporations and other agencies in Delhi to consider purchasing BS-VI compliant diesel vehicles for their respective works to reduce pollution. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said this while hearing a plea filed by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), seeking permission to allow registration of several diesel vehicles of 2000cc capacity and above to carry out solid waste management.
"We are worried for future. It is not for today," the bench said, referring to the menace of pollution in the Delhi-National Capital Region. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for EDMC, told the bench that vehicles required by the civic body for solid waste management were available in diesel variant as the power needed for these vehicles can be generated only by diesel fuel. "Next in future, you will have to buy BS-VI compliant vehicles. Once BS-VI will come into play, the pollution from diesel vehicles will reduce," the bench said.
Mehta said these vehicles were required for essential services only. The bench was informed that other agencies, including civic bodies, also needed new diesel vehicles to carry out their works. The bench sought a chart of the number of vehicles needed along with its particulars and posted the matter for hearing on March 16. During the hearing, the bench asked, "Instead of going for BS-VI variant, why do you want to go for BS-IV variant vehicles?" One of the counsel appearing in the matter said the vehicles needed by the civic bodies are so far available in BS-IV variant only.
The bench also dealt with the issue of installation of smog towers, being designed as large-scale air purifiers to reduce air pollution, in the national capital. In January this year, the court had given three months to the Centre and the Delhi government for the pilot project of setting up smog towers at Connaught Place and Anand Vihar here. During the hearing on Friday, Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni told the bench that the apex court had given three months' time for setting up smog towers but the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), which is assisting authorities in the project, has said it required around 10 months.
The counsel appearing for the Delhi government also said they require time till August-September this year to set up smog towers. The bench has posted the matter for hearing on March 27. These issues have cropped up before the top court which is hearing a matter related to air-pollution in the Delhi-NCR.