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Court seeks govt report on old trucks

The high court on Thursday asked the principal secretary of the transport department to file a report stating the steps his department had taken to stop trucks older than 15 years from plying in the Calcutta Metropolitan Area.

“This court in an order on July 18, 2008, had asked the department not to allow more than 15-year-old trucks to ply in the CMA. But till date, the government has not filed any report stating what action it has taken to carry out the order. So this court is directing the principal secretary to file a report in the form of an affidavit stating what action it has taken,” the division bench of Justice K.J. Sengupta and Justice A.K. Mondal said on Thursday.

In 2008, the court had asked the government to start phasing out over-15-year-old buses, minibuses, taxis, autos and trucks from the CMA from August 31, 2009, acting on a petition by environment activist Subhas Datta.

He had cited in the plea a central pollution control board report in 2007 that stated emission by vehicles was the main reason behind the high air pollution level.

“The government had started action against old buses and minibuses and taxis in 2009 but stopped the following year. In the case of trucks, the government did not carry out the court’s order from the beginning,” said Dutta after Thursday’s order.

The activist added: “The court had asked the government why it had failed to continue the phase-out of buses, minibuses and taxis. But the old trucks have not come under the court’s scanner till date.”

Issues related to buses, minibuses and taxis could not be discussed during the day as the lawyer appearing for the state pollution control board prayed for time.

Government pleader Ashok Banerjee, in response to an earlier order, placed a list of 10 autorickshaw trade unions before the court on Thursday. The court had wanted to know the unions’ stand before taking action against illegal autos plying in the CMA.

The next hearing is on September 27.