NEW DELHI: Minister of State (Independent charge) for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh today urged the need for the auto industry to move into mandatory fuel efficiency standards and asked the government and the industry to consider other major issues like fuel quality, pricing of auto fuels and overall auto fuel issues. The Minister was speaking at the 50th Annual Convention of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) held in New Delhi.
The day long convention ‘Dynamics of Managing Growth: The Next Phase of the Auto Industry’ saw several sessions addressed by eminent auto industrialists and government officials.
The Minister also criticised the perverse fuel policy of the government and said the need of the hour was to move towards complete de-regulation of diesel fuel. “There are so many diesel driven luxury cars on Indian roads. I cannot blame auto manufacturers, it’s rational fallout of the government policy,” he said.
“The Environment Ministry is not a speed breaker or an impediment to the growth of the automotive industry. It is an issue of public health that affects all,” he stated.
Addressing leaders of the automotive industry, senior government officials and bureaucrats and other dignitaries, the Minister said that the Power Ministry is working out the details for the mandatory fuel efficiency norms and urged upon SIAM to move into these mandatory fuel efficiency standards by January 1, 2011. The automotive industry is currently following a voluntary policy on this front.
The Minister was speaking as the Guest of Honour at the convention. The dais was shared by Dr Pawan Goenka, president of SIAM and President-Automotive & Farm Equipment, Mahindra & Mahindra., Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister of Heavy Industry & Public Enterprises and S Sandilya, vice president, SIAM.
“In 2007 the contribution of auto industry to green house inventory in the country was 7.5 per cent of which road transport contributed to as much 85 per cent of this industry. More than 90 per cent of this came from carbon dioxide emissions,” he said. He his own estimates say that this figure of 7.5 per cent could grow to 12 to 15 per cent. It is in this respect that the Minister said that the industry needs to adhere to mandatory fuel efficiency standards beginning January 1, 2011.
He also urged the industry to be cautious when it came to auto fuels. “We are not a Brazil when it comes to bio fuels. The bio fuel issue cannot be treated as an issue like in Brazil,” he cautioned. With a huge population and millions of mouths to feed, land was in short supply, he said. As for CNG, he said there was need to ensure supply of this gas to fuel automobiles. So is CNG a big option? It needs to be looked at with caution, he added.
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