The Society of Indian
Automobile Manufacturers has laid out a series of facts and observations that clearly
proves that by banning diesel cars with engine capacities of 2000cc through the
December 16, 2015 order of the Supreme Court, the court has merely gone after a soft target
(read automobile industry).
This order has been passed
after totally ignoring the findings of the most summary of the recent study on
source apportionment for NCT of Delhi shared with the Court, which mentions
that the vehicles are responsible for only 20 pc of the pollution in Delhi, out
of which only 14-15pc is attributable to passenger cars. This makes the overall
pollution load of passenger cars a miniscule number of just 3 pc.
SIAM further noted that the Auto
Industry is also concerned on the unavailability of a Comprehensive Action Plan
for addressing the issue of air pollution in Delhi.
“The Automobile Industry
appreciates the concern of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the high levels of air
pollution, specially particulate matter emissions in Delhi. The pollution issue
in Delhi needs to be looked at holistically if the objective of improving the
air quality is to be achieved, said SIAM. In light of this, the Hon’ble Supreme
Court Order banning private diesel passenger vehicles and SUVs of 2000 cc
engine capacity and above is most unfortunate. While this would certainly hurt
some segments of the automotive industry, it will not bring about any
perceptible improvement in the air quality of Delhi. However, Auto Industry
welcomes the Hon’ble Courts direction for controlling pollution from other
sources which has been neglected for last couple of decades,” the SIAM noted
Meanwhile, Zakir Merchant, Partner, Khaitan & Co,
commenting on the recent ruling by SC on the ban of registrations of diesel
vehicles in Delhi stated, “It may be
unfortunate for manufacturers to be banned who are meeting emission norms. A
review petition on this particular issue with stronger scientific data could be
the way forward”.
He said, “Emission norms
applicable to diesel vehicles are primarily governed by the provisions of the
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. BS-IV
standards only apply to certain large cities while the rest of India is still
on BS-III standards. Migration to higher standards is the need of the hour. The
order of the Court in part has directed a segment of luxury vehicles which in
the ideal world would meet Nitrogen Oxide levels as per Indian standards.”
SIAM stated that restricting
sales of BS IV compliant vehicles will further delay the proportion of BS IV vehicles
on the road, while older BS 1/2/3 vehicles would continue to ply.
“If reduction of pollution was the objective,
the Hon’ble Court could have encouraged more BS IV vehicles to be sold and
could have restricted use of older vehicles that pollute more, as one old
vehicle emits emissions equivalent to five new vehicles. Hence, old vehicles
entering from outside should also pay environmental compensation tax. Bringing
in better technology to replace older technologies would have been more
effective in meeting the challenge of pollution and air quality,” SIAM observed.
The Auto Industry is also
concerned on the unavailability of a Comprehensive Action Plan for addressing
the issue of air pollution in Delhi, SIAM stated. Way back in the year 2003,
the Auto Fuel Policy had recommended several measures to address the issue of
air pollution. Out of these, only
handful of recommendations concerning the auto industry was implemented while
no action was taken on the other causes of pollution. “Single minded approach
to address only the auto industry which is a soft target has resulted in high
pollution continuing in Delhi, despite of auto industry moving rapidly to BS IV
norms within a short period of 10 years – a feat not performed by any other
country till date. It is distressing to note that lessons from the past have
not been learnt,” SIAM said in a press note.
Historical data shows that the pollution
levels in Delhi always rise from September to December and always starts falling
from January till August onwards, whether the number of vehicles increases or
not. Therefore, taking any decision to ban a certain segment of vehicles based
on rising pollution from September to December would not yield the desired
SIAM suggested the following measures if pollution has to be
a) Complete the construction
of bypasses in Delhi, which has been delayed for several years, so that the
truck traffic not destined for Delhi could be effectively diverted.
b) Have accountability to
ensure that burning of biomass and paddy fields is immediately stopped in and
c) Employ dust collectors and vacuum
cleaners to clean the dust on the road kerb-sides
d) Urgently lay down a policy
for remove and scrappage of old and highly polluting vehicles off the road.
e) Constitute an Expert
Committee consisting of all stakeholders to draw up an holistic action plan for
short, medium and long term with quantifiable targets based upon data to ensure
sustained air quality improvements.
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