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Supreme Court asks govt to consider BS-VI rollout in 13 cities

The rollout of BS-VI fuel in Delhi has already been advanced by two years, with all its retail outlets slated to start supplying the new variants of petrol and diesel from April 1

india Updated: Mar 26, 2018 22:46 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BS-VI,Bharat Stage-VI,Supreme COurt
Traffic jam seen near Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.(HT File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to consider rolling out Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) fuels across 13 metros by April 1, 2019, a year before the stipulated deadline.

A bench led by Justice MB Lokur told additional solicitor general AS Nadkarni, appearing for the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, to hold discussions with oil-marketing companies (OMCs) and obtain their response in two weeks.

The rollout of BS-VI fuel in Delhi has already been advanced by two years, with all its retail outlets slated to start supplying the new variants of petrol and diesel from April 1. A central government affidavit filed before the Supreme Court said the decision to advance the deadline was taken in consideration of the serious pollution levels in the national capital.

Referring to a letter written by the ministry to OMCs in November last, Nadkarni said the government was also planning to introduce the cleaner fuel across the whole of the national capital region (NCR). “We are yet to get a formal response from them on its viability,” he submitted.

The bench enquired about the early introduction of BS-VI fuels across 13 metros from Nadkarni after advocate Aparajita Singh, who is assisting the court on pollution, pushed for a ban on non-compliant vehicles across Delhi-NCR after the cleaner fuel is ready for supply. The court recalled that BS-IV emission norms were notified across 13 cities in April 2010.

Reading out recommendations submitted by the Environment Pollution (Prevent and Control) Authority, Singh said such safeguards need to be implemented in view of Delhi being the worst-polluted city in the world.

Noting that the actual rollout across India will take place only in April 2020, the advocate spoke out against a ministry of transport’s notification that gives car manufacturing firms a period of three months to phase out their production of non-compliant vehicles.

While the bench remained non-committal on Singh’s plea to stop registration of non-BS-VI vehicles in Delhi-NCR after April 1, 2019, it clarified that manufacturers will not get any additional time once the cleaner fuel is made available across
the country.

The apex court had slapped a ban on all BS-III vehicles last year. This came as a big blow to automobile companies because they were sitting on an inventory worth Rs 12,000 crore. March 31 was set as the deadline for taking all these vehicles off the roads after BS-IV fuels became available across the country.

The court also asked the government to examine the issue of fuel pricing after Singh cited the “huge difference” between diesel and petrol costs. She argued that although the court had slapped a 1% cess on diesel vehicles with over 2,000-cc engine capacity, small and medium-segment cars of the kind continued to be favoured by consumers.

Asking the government to place details of the price difference between petrol and diesel cars in all segments, the bench told Nadkarni that a distinction could be made for commercial and passenger vehicles with regard to diesel pricing.

First Published: Mar 26, 2018 22:45 IST