Delhi to have BS-VI fuel by April next year to mitigate pollution; automobile firms wary of new deadline

Desperate times, desperate measures. Battling a depleting air quality in the national capital, the Central government has decided to prepone the introduction of BS-VI grade fuel in the NCT of Delhi. The decision to roll out stricter auto fuel standards would now take effect from 1 April 2018 instead of the earlier deadline of 1 April 2020.

Bharat Stage (BS) are emission standards followed by the government of India to regulate the vehicular emissions and fuel quality.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has decided to leapfrog directly from the current BS-IV to BS-VI grade two years before the agreed upon deadline. According to PIB, consultations with all stakeholders including public Oil Marketing Companies (OMC), are already underway.

However, the automakers will not be hurried to change engine requirements because of the new deadlines as previous BS-IV grade are also capable to run on the new BS-VI fuel, RC Bhargava, chairman at Maruti Suzuki Ltd told Bloomberg QuintAutomobile companies will be required to be ready with the BS-VI-compliant vehicles only by 1 April 2020.

However, automobile manufacturers, who are already having a hard time keeping up with the 2020 deadline fear that they may be later forced by either a quasi-judicial body like the National Green Tribunal or the government to either prepone the roll-out of the Bharat-VI engine vehicles or halt sales of old vehicles altogether.

“No manufacturer has BS-VI-ready vehicles for launch in India across any segments. There is no way any manufacturer will be able to sell BS-VI vehicles next year. Every manufacturer is bending its back to meet the (April 1) 2020 deadline,” an official from a Delhi-based manufacturer, told Moneycontrol

NGT had earlier banned the sale of diesel vehicles with engine capacity of more than 2000cc, and had ordered that deisel-run vehicles older than 10 years should be pulled off the roads.

Only foreign manufacturers — such as Renault, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Volvo, MAN, Scania, Daimler Trucks — who already sell BS-VI-ready vehicles in the western countries, which have already migrated to the cleaner fuel would be able to launch the advanced technology automobiles in India. Indian manufacturers will take time to upgrade to the new technology and would have to raise their prices, the Moneycontrol report said.

Meanwhile, the ministry has also asked the OMCs to examine the possibility of the introduction of BS-VI auto fuels in the whole of National Capital Region, which includes Gurugram and Noida, by 1 April 2019. The shift is expected to reduce vehicular emissions and improve fuel efficiency which in turn will mitigate the air pollution problem, while also reducing the carbon footprints of Delhi, which is among the world's worst polluted cities.

Delhi has been experiencing dense smog for about a week, forcing authorities to enforce emergency measures such as banning construction activities and brick kilns in the National Capital Region. Experts have compared the alarming pollution scenario in Delhi with London's 1952 crisis, which killed an estimated 12,000 people and had long-term ill-effects on the health of the city's residents.

Updated Date: Nov 15, 2017 17:12 PM

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