Ahead of his meeting with heads of all major automobile companies on Thursday to discuss the rollout of environment-friendly BS VI emission norms for vehicles, Roads and Transport minister Nitin Gadkari has suggested that the government is unlikely to budge from its April 1, 2020 deadline.
According to a report by the Press Trust of India, the union minister was quoted as saying: “I do not agree with SIAM. When the same car manufacturers can build cars following the same norms across the globe, then why can't they build it here? The government is not reconsidering its decision.”
In a major step to curb vehicular pollution, the government on January 6 had said it will jump directly from Euro IV emission norms for petrol and diesel to Euro VI norms by April 1, 2020. If the government sticks to its deadline, the Indian auto industry, which was preparing to handle the shift from BS-IV to BS-V fuels by 2019, will have less than 2,000 days to meet BS-VI emission norms.
Automakers have been apprehensive about leapfrogging from BS IV to BS VI citing technical difficulties. The action has met with a guarded response from the oil industry as well which is now reworking its investments.
However, Gadkari is insistent that automobile manufacturers should come forward to help in curbing pollution by making BS VI-compliant vehicles.
Automakers too are willing to work under the directives, given that there is concrete vision on the matter.
According to N Raja, senior VP and director (marketing and sales) at Toyota Kirloskar Motor, “We are ready to meet the new emission norms and support the government’s environmental plans in the long-term. But what we want is that the plans should be frozen without changes.”
Mercedes-Benz India MD & CEO, Roland Folger is of the opinion that the move to jump directly to BS VI norms by 2020 should not be a problem for most of the European manufacturers as they already have the technological capability available.
The decision to leapfrog to BS VI norms has been taken at a time when an intense debate is going on rising level of pollution, while an innovative odd-even formula is being tried in the National Capital to check vehicular pollution, alongside a selective ban on sale of diesel SUVs and luxury cars in the region.
India currently has BS III, equivalent of Euro III specifications, across the country and BS IV in 63 cities, which will be fully enforced by April 2017.