- The Delhi govt said that heavy vehicles will be banned entry into the city from Oct 1 - Feb 28
- The decision has been met with criticism from transporters, traders, who said it will lead to losses
- Critics said that there are few CNG trucks, and those too small-sized
In a fresh move to curb winter pollution in Delhi, the government on Thursday said that heavy vehicles will be banned entry into the city from October 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023.
Earlier this month, a study claimed that 64 per cent of Delhi's winter pollution load comes from outside the capital's boundaries, with "burning of agricultural waste" and "burning for heating and cooking needs" being the major sources.
The decision has been met with criticism from transporters and traders, who said it will lead to losses, and urged the government to think of alternative measures to curb pollution. Diesel-run trucks transporting essential goods will be allowed, apart from CNG and electric trucks, officials said, adding that there will be no ban on private vehicles and the order is applicable only on commercial vehicles.
Critics said that there are few CNG trucks, and those too small-sized, while large and medium vehicles that traverse long distances do not prefer CNG as it is not easily available.
"This decision of the Delhi government will kill the Delhi trade at a time when festival and wedding season in Delhi is always on high pace. The Delhi traders will strongly oppose this draconian order of the Delhi government," Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said.
He said the confederation will seek the central government's intervention and also launch an agitation against the Delhi government.
"The CAIT is convening a meeting of trade leaders of Delhi next week to decide its course of action," he added. Bhim Wadhwa, ex-president of the All India Motor Transport Congress, claimed bureaucrats frame policies without thinking about the general public or stakeholders.
Rajendra Kapoor of the Delhi Goods Transport Organisation concurred with Wadhwa and said Delhi's reputation as a retail hub will be badly hit due to the ban.
"Truckers and traders will find alternative markets for buying goods and sending them, with Delhi being shut for them. This will hurt Delhi's reputation as a retail hub
"The businesses of petrol pumps will be severely affected. This ban will hit the transporters in a much more severe way than the Covid pandemic," he said.
He urged Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot to reconsider the decision.
On June 15, the Delhi government had written to its neighbouring states, including Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, urging them to allow only BS VI-compliant buses to enter the national capital from October 1 in order to help control air pollution in the city.
The request was made to deal with the problem of vehicular pollution in the city, which officials here indicated, is contributed to in part by vehicles coming from Haryana.
The national capital witnesses high levels of air pollution in the winter months from October due to a multitude of factors, including stubble burning and vehicular traffic.