The government is pushing to make BS VI fuel compulsory on air pollution concerns
The sale and manufacture of BS VI non-compliant vehicles in India should not be allowed from April 1, 2020, as it would lessen environmental benefits to be accrued from using cleaner BS VI fuel, the centre told the Supreme Court on Monday.
In an affidavit filed in the top court, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry said that it would not be possible to segregate pricing of diesel or have a differential pricing mechanism for fuel for private vehicles.
The ministry told a bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta that sale and manufacture of Bharat Stage VI non-compliant vehicles from April 1, 2020, would have an adverse effect since investment of Rs 28,000 crore has already been made for having a cleaner BS VI fuel.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), however, referred to a government notification of February 20 this year which said that registration of private vehicles manufactured up to April 1, 2020, should be done till June 30, 2020.
Advocate Aparajita Singh, who is assisting the court in the matter, raised the issue of Delhi reeling under air pollution and said people were dying due to its ill-effects.
Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, appearing for the centre, said the time till June 2020 has been given for registration of BS IV vehicles manufactured up to March 2020.
“If BS VI fuel is used in BS IV vehicles, the environmental benefit of having a cleaner fuel would become marginal. After March 31, 2020, sale of non-compliant BS VI vehicles should not be allowed,” Mr Nadkarni said.
When the counsel appearing for SIAM referred to the reduction of time given to the automobile manufacturers to jump to BS VI from BS IV, the bench said, “When this issue had cropped up, there was strong opposition from you.”
“I am not sure what you (SIAM) are up to. When it is convenient for you then you say no to electric vehicles and when its beneficial, then you are ready for electric vehicles,” Justice Lokur observed.
SIAM’s counsel said the situation has now changed and 10,000 electric vehicles would be supplied in Delhi.
“All we are saying is that we have to be little cautious while dealing with your organisation,” the bench said.
Advocate Aparajita Singh claimed that SIAM had earlier misled the court on electric vehicles and prototypes of 23 such vehicles were shown during the auto show.
The SIAM said approval for prototypes of electric vehicles was pending with the government. The bench said that the ministry’s affidavit should be given to the SIAM so that they could respond to it.
During the hearing, the bench was told that Mercedes-Benz was already manufacturing BS VI compliant vehicles in India.
Advocate Aparajita Singh said Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra and Mahindra were exporting BS VI vehicles to Europe and for India, they say that they need time.
“Some carmakers are determined not to come out with BS VI vehicles till March 31, 2020,” Aparajita Singh said.
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