Yesterday, the government informed the Supreme Court that a new vehicle scrappage policy directed at combating pollution as a long-term solution is underway.
Once implemented, reports suggest, this could take off more than 27-28 million old vehicles registered before March 31, 2005, and still plying on Indian roads.
In an exclusive interaction with Autocar Professional recently, Rashmi Urdhwareshe, director, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), had said: “In India, it looks very difficult to have a policy with mandatory retirement of vehicles. However, on a voluntary basis, vehicle retirement policy can be introduced by incentivising the scrappage of old vehicles. Scrapping a vehicle involves not only shredding of parts but also setting up a mechanism that can, in an environmental-friendly manner, dispose off the scrap. That includes segregation of metals, non-metals, rubber, and other materials. Each one of these materials undergoes predefined recycle method.”
“There are regulations built in for making new vehicles, which also have a defined methodology for scrapping the same. Existing regulations in Europe say that when a new vehicle is manufactured, it should be able to be scrapped by recovering 85 percent of its weight. We have made our regulations on similar lines and that standard already exists. This means that at the time of new vehicle approval, the manufacturer will have to declare the component materials. The instructions are also mentioned for dismantling the vehicle duly approved by the testing agency. This is one part of the said standards.”
Methodology for declaring a vehicle unfit and for scrappage
Speaking in the context of administrative machinery that will take the responsibility of evaluating and declaring the vehicles as unfit for roads, she said: “The second part of this includes an administrative procedure that will be able to declare a vehicle as unfit for roads. The administrative procedures also include who will be able to authorise the vehicle as unfit ranging from manufacturers, RTOs to owners. Once the vehicle is declared unfit, its registration would be cancelled and these procedures will come under administrative requirements.”
“Thirdly, there is a complete chapter on how the dismantling of vehicles should happen. It defines adequate infrastructure required for vehicle scrappage. All three parts put together is the part of the standards that are being notified currently. The standards, however, do not specify the age of vehicles for mandatory scrappage. So in order to promote vehicle scrappage, a policy is being drafted, which, apart from these technical requirements, will also include parameters for incentivising individuals to scrap their old vehicles. This is what the Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has spoken about. They will also announce the credit (system under work) for individuals who will sell their old vehicles to scrappage dealers. This will comprise the financial part of the policy that will include whether the individual doing so will get tax incentives or buy back points or others. This is being worked out. This is the overall plan.”
However, Ms Urdhwareshe says that the policy could see the phase-wise implementation and that the pan-India set up of the vehicle scrappage eco-system is still some years away.
“This, however, may take time because it does not only include the readiness of the OEMs but also the centres that will dispose the vehicle scrap. These centres need to be created and authorised by relevant authorities before becoming functional,” she added.
India’s first vehicle dismantling unit in Chennai
Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC), which is located in the SIPCOT industrial growth centre at Oragadam near Chennai (within close proximity to vehicle manufacturers’ production facilities), has set up a vehicle dismantling facility – a first in India.
GARC officials told Autocar Professional recently that although the unit was set up to overlook the vehicle dismantling procedures in an environmentally-friendly way as part of a pilot project, it will take note of and address the potential challenges that come in the way of executing the standard processes and also evaluate its commercial viability to take on mass dismantling of old vehicles.
“It is a demo unit that was set up under DHI (Department of Heavy Industry) funding to demonstrate the right procedure of dismantling vehicles. The purpose of that centre is also to assess whether it is commercially viable and if there are benefits that can be passed on to the users. Having completed that project, they have given a positive response saying that this is a commercially viable model for India to recycle old vehicles on a mass scale and restore steel. I think in the interest of the country, it is a win-win plan,” said ARAI’s top official.
“It clearly tells us what facilities are required, what shredding capabilities are required. The demo unit in Chennai can dismantle two-, three- and four-wheelers. It can always be scaled up for scrapping bigger vehicles. The authorities are talking about a hub-and-spoke model where a dismantling unit can be set up at a suitable location with many collection centres that can be set up closer to the users. These collection centres can be authorised to issue end-of-life certificates and old vehicles would go in their control.”
Urdhwareshe added, “We had anticipated that on one side we will start regulating this process on the vehicle manufacturing level (with directions that vehicle should be capable of recovering 85 percent of its weight). While that can begin first, we expect that the entire infrastructure could get ready in 3-5 years’ time. This could be via public-private partnership (PPP), organising the existing scrap dealers and by other means. So a complete scheme could be either implemented as a pilot project in a state it could be centrally controlled. So we have submitted certain suggestions that are currently being worked out. This project could come under the Ministry of Heavy Industries, who can govern the same.”
According to GARC’s website, “GARC Chennai, the Southern centre of NATRiP will have testing facilities to conduct a full spectrum of homologation and performance testing of automobiles ranging from two- and three-wheelers to heavy commercial vehicles.”
INTERVIEW: ARAI's Rashmi Urdhwareshe on helping automakers meet BS VI norms by 2020