Kolkata: The order of the Eastern Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal to bar use of private or commercial vehicles that have in operation for 15 years or more in Kolkata and districts of West Bengal from the end of January next year is all set to hit legal roadblocks.
On July 26 this year, the bench ordered the West Bengal government to ensure that vehicles attaining 15 years of age or above are phased in the next six months.
Now, West Bengal Bus & Minibus Owners’ Association (WBBMOA) has decided to challenge that order in the Calcutta High Court claiming that the order of Eastern Zone Bench of NGT is not clear about the fate of BC-III and BS-IV vehicles whose registrations had been done between 2017 and 2020.
According to the WBBMOA general secretary, Pradip Narayan Basu, as per the earlier order in 2009, vehicles that have crossed 15 years of age since the time of registration should be phased out.
“The last registration for BS-III vehicles in the state was done in 2017, while the last registration for BS-IV vehicles was done in 2020. Now how these vehicles whose registrations were done between 2017 and 2020 will be phased out by January 2023. So, we have decided to challenge the order of Eastern Zone Bench of NGT on these grounds,” he said.
After the order of NGT’s Eastern Zone Bench, the state public vehicles department started identifying those vehicles that have attained 15 years of age or above and accordingly started serving notices to the owners of those vehicles — both private and commercial.
As per records of the state public vehicles department, currently, in Kolkata, there are 20,39,519 registered vehicles who have attained age of 15 years or above, out of which 2,19,137 are commercial vehicles and the remaining 18,20,382 are personal vehicles.
In case of the districts beyond the state capital of Kolkata, the total number of such vehicles are 71,98,814, out of which 6,97,635 are commercial ones while the remaining 65,01,814 are commercial ones.
Kolkata is the second most polluted city in the world, according to a recent report — after the national capital Delhi.
Environmental experts and activists are of the opinion that besides population, there are other factors contributing to this high air pollution rate in Kolkata. Automobile fuel emission contributes to 60 per cent to the pollution.