The government is considering penal action against German automobile major Volkswagen for violating emission regulations, the National Green Tribunal was informed on Wednesday.
“Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises had directed Volkswagen to initiate vehicle recall in India. Within the stipulated time Volkswagen had informed that they will be recalling all affected vehicles estimated number being 3.2 lakhs in India...
“On declaration of vehicle recall by the manufacturer, Ministry of Heavy Industries has immediately handed over the matter to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to examine penal provisions and decide further action related to continuation or otherwise of production and the applicable penalty,” an affidavit filed by Ministry of Heavy Industries before a bench of Justice U D Salvi said.
The Ministry told the green panel that it had directed Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) to examine whether vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen in India were also using the “defeat device” in the engine control unit.
“Accordingly, ARAI has carried out measures in laboratory as well as on road, using real time driving conditions. The measurements show that Nitrogen Oxide emissions as measured on road are five to nine times in excess as compared to laboratory emission test limits.
“Based on these results, the ministry had directed Volkswagen to initiate vehicle recall in India,” the affidavit filed by Pravin Agrawal, Director of Department of Heavy Industry, said.
Denying the allegation that it acted in a “slow” manner on the emission fiasco, the Ministry said it took immediate steps to mitigate the situation that had arisen on account of global disclosure made by Volkwagen group.
The Ministry further stated there was no “specific data or study” available to assess the contribution of Volkswagen vehicles to overall ambient air quality.
The affidavit was filed in response to a plea by Saloni Ailawadi, a Delhi based school teacher, who had sought directions to disallow “manufacturing, assembly and sale” of vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen and its group companies until it was established that they were adhering to the prescribed norms in India.