NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court-appointed EPCA lifted the ban on the entry of heavy vehicles into Delhi on Tuesday, four days after it was imposed due to alarming pollution levels.
The EPCA — Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority — said heavy vehicles would now ply on normal timings between 11 pm and 6 am.
The move came even as Delhi's air quality deteriorated to "severe" category on Tuesday and authorities said light rainfall in the city might worsen pollution levels.
EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said the restriction imposed by it on heavy vehicles had been lifted.
On Monday, the EPCA allowed entry of only those vehicles into the city which were stranded for the previous four days at Delhi borders, anticipating the situation getting out of hand with the owners of over a 1,000 trucks getting "restive".
The EPCA had asserted on Monday that these stranded trucks would be exempt from paying toll or Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) from 11 pm on November 12 to 7 am on November 13.
The body had said by relaxing the payment of toll-ECC, the trucks can move without any stop and this will reduce congestion and reduce pollution.
Over 2,200 vehicles were returned from Delhi's borders during the four-day restriction -- from November 8 to November 12 -- on the entry of heavy vehicles in the national capital in the wake of high pollution levels in the city, a senior Traffic Police official said.
As many as 3,931 vehicles carrying essential goods were allowed inside the national capital from 11 PM on November 11 till 5 AM on November 12, he said.
The restriction on the entry of heavy vehicles was imposed from November 8 to November 11 but was later extended by a day by the Supreme Court-appointed agency on the recommendations of a Central Pollution Control Board-led task force, which reviews the national capital's air quality.
Delhi's air quality has been oscillating between 'very poor' and 'severe' since Diwali. The overall air quality index in the city on Tuesday was recorded at 408 which falls in the 'severe' category, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board.