Kerala has become the second state after Delhi to ban the use of diesel vehicles older than 10 years. The National Green Tribunal's special circuit bench at Ernakulam ordered the ban of 10 years old diesel vehicles in six major cities - Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur - of Kerala. In addition, the green court also banned the registration of new diesel vehicles with engine capacity 2000cc or above. Though, public transport was exempted from the this ban, while a fine of Rs. 5000 would be imposed on violators.
"We appreciate the health issue and environmental concerns. They are huge but you can't tell people to suddenly take their vehicles off road. Its huge numbers which are involved and people's employment, their loans. This takes time to implement. We will be appealing against this decision," Tomin Thachankary, the Transport Commissioner for Kerala told NDTV. The NGT bench headed by Justice J Swatanter Kumar issued the interim order after considering during admission hearing a petition filed by Lawyers' Environmental Awareness Forum (LEAF). The petitioner alleged that Kochi has become the most polluted city in the country, while other major cities are exactly on the same path.
The petitioner demanded that spewing of poisnous gases from the old diesel vehicles such as lorries and buses should be immediately curbed. Hence, the court banned diesel vehicles older than 10 years and also ordered to impose a fine of Rs. 10000 if they are found running after 30 days of the order. "Even I have a diesel car but I think this decision is important. We can't even walk on the roads anymore. There is such a huge increase in number of vehicles on road and pollution is only increasing," said Anil G, a consultant. On the contrary, many bus drivers like Shaji A say, "This is not practical and cannot be implemented."