At present, BS-IV norms are being followed in over 30 cities while the rest of the country followed BS-III norms.

Industry has suggested that curbing pollution by introducing cleaner fuel may take time.

Automobile companies on Thursday raised serious concerns over the government’s decision to fast-track implementation of clean vehicular fuel norms and sought a clear road map on the issue, “rather than moving the goalpost.”

At a meeting with Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, automakers sought an assurance about the availability of BS-VI fuel throughout the country from 2020. “It took nine years for the government to make BS-IV fuels available from 2017 throughout the country. Here we are talking about transiting to BS-VI in three years. How is that possible?” said a senior executive of an automobile company.

BS-VI is the Indian equivalent of the Euro-VI norms. At present, BS-IV norms are being followed in over 30 cities while the rest of the country followed BS-III norms.

Earlier, the Ministry of Petroleum had also expressed inability to supply clean fuels by 2020. However, after the Supreme Court asked the government whether implementing BS-V norms from 2020 and BS-VI norms from 2022 could be advanced, the government decided to skip BS-V norms and go for BS-VI directly from 2020 – advancing the earlier deadline by a year.

Sources said the industry raised two major concerns — one on the early deadline and the other on the availability of fuel. The concerns were raised by senior executives of 26 automobile companies who met Mr Gadkari on Thursday, who said it’s a big challenge to change directly to BS-VI norms from 2020.

“I think Mr. Gadkari’s ministry wants to clearly work with the industry to transit to the next technological level smoothly. He understands it’s a big challenge and the government has assured us full support,” Toyota Vice Chairman Vikram S Kirloskar told The Hindu after the meeting.

While Mr. Gadkari didn’t comment after the meeting, senior government officials said the government wants to proactively work towards clean vehicular norms. “The Minister said the overall public sentiments support cleaner environment and similar concerns have been shared by the judiciary. He also said the government is more than happy to understand the industry’s point of view and invited suggestions on working out the finer details to implement BS-VI norms from 2020,” the official said.

Industry is learnt to have suggested that addressing pollution by introducing cleaner fuel would take time so the government should look at scrapping older, polluting vehicles urgently. “They have called for a relook into the fitness regime for automobiles,” the official added.

Road map

“What the auto industry seeks from the government is — please give us a roadmap. Investments of hundreds of crore go into creating the right technology,” said Vinod Dasari, President of industry body SIAM earlier in the day.

“India has always been an early adopter of global technologies, be it related to emission or safety. We will continue to do it. But please give us a roadmap. Don’t change the goalpost everyday. We cannot operate like that,” Mr Dasari said.

Earlier, Mr. Gadkari had said the government has given auto companies enough time till 2020 to implement BS-VI norms as these companies are already selling BS-VI cars to other countries. “It is not easy to sell the engines which we export to other countries here. We need at least two years of validation of the cars on Indian roads before we can do that,” said another auto company official.

The industry has been demanding BS-VI fuel norms to be implemented by 2022 instead of 2020.

[Source:- The Hindu]

By Adam