New Delhi, Apr 7 (PTI) Automobile manufacturers told the Supreme Court today that it would be difficult for them to start the process of conversion of vehicles to BS-VI emission norm from 2019 to meet the April 1, 2020 deadline.
The manufacturers told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that as per report of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), they have to start the conversion of their vehicles into BS-VI from 2019 so that it could be sold from April 1, 2020, but said that there were technological issues in it.
The BS-VI emission norm is scheduled to come into force from April 1, 2020.
“The BS-VI would come into effect from April 1, 2020…
effectively we will have to start the process of conversion from 2019 which is difficult. There are issues of technology,” the counsel, appearing for the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), told the bench.
The lawyer also argued that “if the Government of India wants to discourage people from buying diesel vehicles, they should equate the price of petrol and diesel. Why the buyers should be asked to pay tax for buying a diesel vehicle?” When the counsel sought clarification on the BS-VI issue, the bench asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, about it.
Kumar said he would file a reply on the EPCA’s report within three weeks after which the bench fixed the matter for further hearing on May 1.
Recently on March 29, the apex court had banned sale and registration of vehicles, which were not BS-IV compliant, in India from April 1 when the new BS-IV emission norms came into force while observing that health of people is “far, far more important than the commercial interests of the manufacturers”.
During the hearing today, the bench also dealt with the issue relating to the EPCA’s proposal to ban use of fuels that are high in sulphur content — furnace oil and pet coke — by industries in the NCR.
When the apex court asked the solicitor general about the affidavit filed by the Centre in which the government has said that it needs seven weeks’ time to stop the use of furnace oil and pet coke, Kumar said, “I will argue on some points which we think requires consideration.”
The bench, which had earlier asked the Centre to consider banning the use of furnace oil and pet coke by industries in NCR, has fixed this matter also on May 1.
Besides these, the apex court also took up for hearing the issue raised by the EPCA which has proposed that an integrated public transport system should be in place in Delhi-NCR as it would help in reducing air pollution.
When the bench asked the solicitor general about it, he said he would file a reply to the EPCA’s report within three weeks.
The court also heard other related issues including the complaint of Indraprastha Gas Ltd that Haryana was not allowing its operation in Gurugram.
The apex court is hearing a PIL filed by environmentalist M C Mehta in 1985 in which he has highlighted the issue of ambient air quality and air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.