The cabinet is expected to step in to settle differences between the petroleum and the road transport ministries on introducing the next generation of cleaner vehicles — the Bharat Stage III-compliant automobiles.
The petroleum ministry has made arrangements to provide Euro III- compliant fuel in half of the country except 13 big cities by June-end. But, the transport ministry recently issued a draft notification, saying Euro III-complaint vehicles will be available to all only after September. The 13 cities switched to Euro-IV mode on April 1.
Euro norms are indicative of fuel’s emission status. Higher the stage, lower is the emission. For instance, Euro-III vehicles emit 38 per cent less pollutants than Euro II-vehicles. Originally, Euro III-vehicles were to be made available from April 1. But, the auto industry wasn’t ready and is pushing for October deadline. On March 31, the transport ministry issued a draft notification proposing further extension.
“It’s shocking that private automobile companies are unable to provide India with better technology and are demanding deadlines be deferred,” said Sunita Narain, director, Centre for Science and Environment.
The petroleum ministry had sought cabinet’s nod to amend the auto fuel policy for providing Euro-III fuel in 16 key states by June-end. The transport ministry opposed it, citing auto industry.
“A uniform date for phasing in Euro-III vehicles would ensure that there is no violation of rules,” said an official, who refused to be identified.
Environmentalists wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, opposing the manufacturers, saying India should not put off introduction of clean technologies.
The cabinet is expected to take a final call after the PM returns from his two-nation tour, said the official.