SC wants 10,000 buses in Delhi by next year

Posted by admin | December 25, 2017 | Blog

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave its green signal for enforcement of a comprehensive action plan to deal with the pollution crisis in National Capital Region (NCR) and asked the Centre to notify the plan within two weeks that includes time-bound implementation of short-, medium- and long-term measures to improve the air quality.

The plan has been formulated by Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) after holding extensive consultation with Centre, state governments and pollution control boards. It contains measures to be taken for various authorities in a time-bound manner to ease the pollution level, including a proposal to increase the strength of the bus fleet to 10,000 by the end of 2018. The Centre has also accepted the plan barring two issues —implementation of BS-VI norm and imposing of pollution cess on SUVs running on diesel.

Taking the submission of the Centre on record, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked the government to notify it barring those two issues.

The plan was prepared by EPCA in April but did not contain the deadline and the court had directed it to file a fresh report with timelines. As per the plan, more monitoring stations needed to set up in NCR to keep a tab on air quality and public transport system must be strengthened to encourage people to use buses and metro.

It granted the Centre two weeks to talk to all stakeholders for implementation and notify it. The EPCA report calls for urgent steps to be taken to make Delhi’s air breathable and to meet the national air quality standards. “According to the 2009 National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the daily and hourly standards for pollutants must be met 98% of the time in a year and they should not exceed the standards on two consecutive days. Delhi will have to reduce PM10 levels by 74%, PM2.5 by 70%, and nitrogen dioxide by 37.5% to meet the standards. Similarly, key NCR cities and towns need significant reductions to meet the clean air standards,” it said

Referring to a report on Global Burden of Disease estimates for 2017, the report said that early deaths related to PM2.5 in India are the second highest in the world and ozone-related deaths, though lower than PM2.5, were the highest in the world and there was an immediate need to deal with the problem as the quality of air was deteriorating with each passing year. “Not only the tiny particulates but also the toxic gases that come entirely from combustion sources pose a very serious health risk,” it said.

Additional solicitor general A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, said the government had set up a high-level task force under the principal secretary to the Prime Minister to deal with the crisis.

“During the detailed discussion on stubble burning various options were discussed to discourage crop residue burning. Some of the technological options discussed were power generation from biomass, co-firing in thermal power plants, ethanol production from paddy and wheat straw,” the Centre said and assured the court that an interim report will be prepared on stubble burning by December 15. It said a report on other aspects of pollution generation would be finalised by next month.

The court also relaxed its ban order on use of polluting fuels—pet coke and furnace oil —in NCR and surrounding states and permitted their use in cement, lime industries and thermal power plants.

Welcoming the SC directive, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)’s Sunita Narain, also a member of EPCA, said, “This is the first-ever comprehensive action plan that has been adopted officially to mandate timebound short-, medium- and long-term measures to clean up the air of NCR with a compliance strategy. This also helps create a template of action for all other cities of India.”

Anumita Roychowdhury, its executive director (research and advocacy), said, “NCR will have to reduce particulate pollution by at least 74% from the current level to be able to meet the clean air standards.”

Expected to carve out a niche, the RoadMaster G75 was conceptualised in 2015. The first proto arrived in 2016. Productions in 2017, the motor grader is powered by a 79hp DiTEC 4805 IA BSIII CEV engine. Mated to the engine is a four-wheel drive (4WD), four-speed Carraro transmission. Featuring two hydraulic pumps, which provide it with a hydraulic multi-function capability, the RoadMaster G75 is fitted with a torque converter type clutch and power shuttle transmission. The motor grader, fitted with a 10 ft. wide blade and a mouldboard designed to suit productivity and durability are said to grade at 33 percent. This is considerably more than what the other motor graders offer, claim M&M sources. Offering a blade cutting angle of 25.6 degrees, and a rotation angle of 30 degrees with a blade side-shift of 513 mm, the RoadMaster G75 comes with a one year, unlimited hours warranty. With (1.98 m) dozer blade and (5 Tyne) ripper as optional fitments, the motor grader was subjected to 6,000 hours of rigorous testing and has been validated for performance, safety and reliability.

Supported by Mahindra’s sales and service network across the country, the RoadMaster G75 is equipped with Mahindra’s telematics platform DigiSense. Drawing from the experience Mahindra has gained selling tractors and backhoe loaders, the motor grader, claimed to have been benchmarked against global quality standards, is both, functional and utilitarian. Aimed at the construction of small to medium roads, and to widen of state and national highways, the RoadMaster G75, said Vinod Sahay, Chief Executive Officer, Truck and Bus Division and Construction Equipment Division, M&M, will prove to be a disruptive addition to the motor grader segment. “It is set to deliver affordable mechanisation sans a compromise and is aptly suitable for applications such as embankment or earthwork. For laying of railway tracks and levelling of large plots for industrial construction,” he concluded.

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