Amid spike in air pollution level, the state Transport Department has asked all the other government departments to dump vehicles that are more than 15 years old.
As per sources, a letter has been sent to various departments, including police and municipal bodies, asking them to remove all such vehicles by the end of this year.
“We are aiming at curbing the rising vehicular pollution in the city. A court order is already there, but it’s (letter) like a reminder so that the order can be enforced properly,” said a source in the Transport Department.
The Calcutta High Court had banned vehicles, which were over 15 years old, in Kolkata Metropolitan Area to bring down vehicular pollution, about 10 years ago.
The order was also applicable for adjoining areas like Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Paraganas districts.
Sources claimed nearly one lakh vehicles, which are more than 15 years old, are plying in the city, despite the court’s order.
Sources said the Police Department had already started the process of scrapping nearly 80 such vehicles and that the Health Department too would scrap about 40 vehicles.
The Transport Department has also alerted its own officials to ensure such vehicles are not being used.
Local environment activists, however, termed the action a face-saving exercise.
“Despite having less vehicles in comparison to Delhi, the air quality index of Kolkata is also quite bad. Now that people are only talking about pollution, such letters are like face saver for the Transport Department,” said an environment activist who didn’t want to be named.
“Delhi suffers air pollution every winter due to agricultural waste burning, while Kolkata’s major factor is auto emissions, as observed by NGT (National Green Tribunal),” he added.
The National Green Tribunal had earlier fined the state government of Rs 10 crore for failing to check air pollution.
Vehicles that are 15 years old emit toxic gases.
Article source: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/west-bengal-dump-all-15-year-old-vehicles-depts-told-6103444/