In a landmark judgement, the National Green Tribunal Circuit Bench on Monday banned light and heavy diesel vehicles, which are more than 10 years old, in six major cities, including state capital Thiruvananthapuram and commercial capital Kochi, in Kerala.
In its first sitting, the Bench, comprising NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar and expert member Bikram Singh Sajwan, also directed the state government not to register any diesel vehicle in the capacity of 2000 CC and more, except public transport and local authority vehicles.
"All the diesel vehicles whether light or heavy which are more than 10 years shall not be permitted to ply on the roads in the major cities like Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur," the Bench said in its order.
Upon expiry of 30 days from today if any vehicle is found to be violating this direction, it shall pay Rs 5000 as environmental compensation and this will be collected by traffic police or pollution control board, the Bench said.
It said state pollution control board RPT state pollution control board shall maintain a separate account in this regard and directed that the funds shall be utilized for betterment of environment in these cities.
The bench issued the order while hearing a petition filed by Lawyers' Environmental Awareness Forum (LEAF).
In its petition, the Forum sought action against highly polluting diesel vehicles such as trucks and buses.
It also noted that Kochi and other major cities have earned the reputation of being the most polluted cities.
Earlier, Acting Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court Thottathil B Radhakrishnan inaugurated the Kochi Special Circuit Bench of the NGT at a function in presence of Justice Swatanter Kumar and other eminent jurists.