Petroleum Ministry seeks setting up of an inter-ministerial group to draw up an action plan for pollution issues

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry has sought setting up of an inter-ministerial Committee (IMC) with representatives from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the Ministry of Heavy Industries, Urban Development and Public Enterprises and the Ministry of Environment and Forests to draw up a roadmap for reduction of pollution.

The Ministry has stated that with a time lag in implementation of sound vehicle inspection and maintenance, vehicle retro-fitment and retirement, garage certification and traffic management, mere improvement of fuel quality was not enough to achieve the desired results. “It is time to evolve an appropriate roadmap and supervise implementation of measures to reduce the pollution levels,” it has stated in a note circulated among various stakeholders.

The note pointed out that as per the source apportionment studies conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in six cities, vehicular emission is not the only major contributor to overall pollution as road side dust, construction activities, domestic combustion, use of diesel generator sets and bio mass burning also contribute significantly to the pollution levels going northwards.

The Petroleum Ministry said while the oil industry has kept its commitment of supplying BS-IV quality auto fuels to reap the full benefits of the upgraded fuel quality, more important and immediate need was to ensure improvement in vehicle engine technology to reduce emission levels and deliver higher fuel efficiency.

“Measures like retro-fitment of pollution control devices in old vehicles, phasing out of old vehicles, mandatory periodical inspections and maintenance requirements are also requirement to be taken up simultaneously,” it has stated.

It further pointed out that a decision had been taken to progressively expand coverage of BS-IV fuels in at least 50 cities by 2015, adding that inclusion of all State capitals and cities with population of more than one million and on-attainment cities as identified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests will be emphasised while selecting the additional cities for extension of BS-IV auto fuels.