Home SPECIAL REPORTS Prime Minister’s Special Convoy Vehicle Faces Roadblock as NGT Rejects Extension Request

Prime Minister’s Special Convoy Vehicle Faces Roadblock as NGT Rejects Extension Request

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Prime Minister's Renault ID-5

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has denied a plea from the Special Protection Group (SPG) to extend the registration of three specialized armored vehicles used for the Prime Minister’s security detail. These diesel-powered Renault MD-5 or Renault Sherpa vehicles, inducted in 2014, have exceeded the 10-year age limit for diesel vehicles in Delhi-NCR and must be retired.

NGT Cites Supreme Court Order in Upholding Pollution Control Measures

The NGT’s principal bench, led by Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Dr. A. Senthil Vel, delivered the verdict on March 22nd, 2024. The decision referenced a prior Supreme Court ruling from October 2018 that mandated the phasing out of diesel vehicles older than ten years on the roads of Delhi-NCR to combat alarming pollution levels.

Prime Minister's Renault ID-5

The bench acknowledged the unique purpose of these armored vehicles and their minimal mileage due to restricted tactical use. However, the NGT emphasized that the overarching environmental concerns outweighed these considerations. They stated, “We recognize these are special purpose vehicles not readily available, and they have minimal mileage. Given the Supreme Court’s order dated October 29, 2018, the request…cannot be granted and is accordingly rejected.”

SPG Argues for Extension and Highlights Logistical Challenges

The SPG had petitioned the NGT to influence the Transport Department to grant a five-year registration extension until December 12th, 2029. Their plea emphasized the vehicles’ critical role as an “essential and integral part of Special Protection Group technical logistics.” The SPG also pointed to previous instances where the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) issued notifications allowing registration extensions for unique situations.

The NGT, however, countered that the MoRTH notifications were general in nature, whereas the Supreme Court’s ruling specifically targeted diesel vehicles operating in Delhi-NCR. The tribunal further noted that the armored vehicles were only compliant with the older BS3 emission standards, adding to their environmental impact.

Prime Minister's Renault ID-5

Uncertainties Regarding Next Steps and Potential Repercussions

Presently, it remains unclear whether the SPG will challenge the NGT’s decision. Replacing these specialized vehicles would necessitate significant expenditure and impose a strain on public resources.

Air Quality Concerns Prompt Strict Measures in Delhi-NCR

The Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling stemmed from growing anxieties over worsening air quality in Delhi-NCR, with vehicular emissions identified as a significant contributor. The court mandated the governments of Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to cease registering diesel vehicles exceeding ten years old. The NGT echoed these concerns in an earlier order issued in April 2015, citing concerningly low air quality readings.

Balancing Security Needs with Environmental Protection: A Delicate Tightrope Walk

This situation presents a complex dilemma. On the one hand, ensuring the Prime Minister’s safety is paramount, and specialized vehicles play a vital role in accomplishing this objective. On the other hand, combating air pollution requires decisive action, and the continued operation of older, polluting vehicles contradicts these efforts.

Prime Minister's Renault ID-5

Also Read: Skoda’s Mystery SUV: Your Last Chance to “Name Your Skoda” And Win!

Potential Solutions and a Look Towards the Future

Moving forward, several possibilities exist. The SPG could contest the NGT’s verdict, potentially seeking intervention from higher courts. Alternatively, they could expedite the procurement of new, emissions-compliant armored vehicles to replace the current ones.

This situation underscores the critical need for technological advancements in the realm of armored vehicles. The development of electric or hybrid variants that deliver exceptional security features alongside minimal environmental impact would represent a significant breakthrough.

Striking a balance between security imperatives and environmental sustainability is a continuous challenge. The NGT‘s decision reflects the growing urgency of addressing air pollution concerns in Delhi-NCR. As technology evolves, it presents an opportunity to develop superior security solutions that harmonize with environmental well-being.

For more automotive updates and industry trends, stay tuned to Motorlane.

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