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Delhi high court wants diesel cabs out of NCR

Bad days loom for diesel car and component manufacturers. The Delhi high court has asked the central government to explore the possibility of extending the ban on diesel-powered taxicabs to the entire National Capital Region (NCR). A single-judge bench of Justice Manmohan asked for an inter-ministerial committee to be set up under the leadership of the cabinet secretary and comprising the secretaries of the environment, petroleum and transport ministries to find ways of achieving this goal. He said this panel should work in close coordination with the chief secretary and other bureaucrats of the Delhi state government. "The entire fleet of cabs must be ultimately shifted to CNG," the court said. More ominously for the manufacturers, Justice Manmohan wondered whether the time had come to make diesel-powered cars unattractive for buyers. Characterising diesel as a rich man's fuel, he said, "It [air pollution] is a very big problem, why are you not getting any registration policy on diesel vehicles? The entire MV Act needs to be reviewed so that you can deal with diesel vehicles. These need to be regulated. You can levy some cess; it is a rich man's fuel. A very big policy decision is needed from the legislature." The court is hearing a petition by the Association of Radio Taxis seeking proper enforcement of the ban on diesel cabs providing point-to-point service in the national capital. The court had on October 14 allowed app-based taxi services like Ola and Uber to ply diesel cabs in the national capital till March 1 next year, by when they would have to shift completely to CNG.