As the mercury drops each year, Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) shoots up – it’s definitely a direct inverse relation that the two share. Another winter tradition is Delhi government’s reshuffling of the traffic situation in the city, which includes prohibiting commercial vehicles from plying in the city. This year too, although post-Diwali AQI has been the best in years, it is still close to ‘severe’ and choking the city.
On Friday, as the Capital’s AQI breached 450, the state government banned the entry of all commercial vehicles that run on diesel, barring those carrying essential goods, those that run on CNG, and electric trucks. Under this, Stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) was enforced by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas.
Furthermore, Delhi-registered diesel-operated Medium Goods Vehicles (MGV) and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) also will not be allowed to ply in Delhi apart from the aforesaid exceptions. The order issued by Delhi Transport Department also states that the BS-III Petrol and BS-IV Diesel Light Motor Vehicle (LMVs) – 4 wheelers will be banned from plying in the areas under the jurisdiction of the NCT of Delhi.
With diesel MGV and HGV four-wheelers restricted from accessing the city, it is sure to have an impact on freight movement. However, the gravity of such an impact is still to be seen, considering that Delhi is one of the busiest commercial hubs in mainland. There’s also a fact that with such vehicular bans becoming a sort of trend for each winter onset, shippers/LSPs/truckers may just have already prepared themselves for it and made alternate arrangements. The temporary ban may not create a gaping hole in the logistics pathway, but is sure to create some speed-bumps.
Though there has been a large fleet of CNG, and now Electric, vehicles plying in an around the city, but the trucking industry still heavily relies on diesel run vehicles. The standing time of such vehicles adds on the idle capacity, which ultimately leads to time and cost overruns.