Mahindra & Mahindra questions Green Tribunal’s ban on diesel vehicles

The move will hurt the industry since Delhi is the biggest market for automobile firms, says executive director Pawan Goenka.

December 13, 2015 12:02 am | Updated November 17, 2021 01:04 am IST - MUMBAI:

He said when a product is meeting the law of the land the authorities cannot ban it overnight.

He said when a product is meeting the law of the land the authorities cannot ban it overnight.

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M), the country’s leading sport utility vehicle (SUV) manufacturer and the company likely to be worst affected by the National Green Tribunal’s directive to ban the registration of new diesel vehicles in Delhi, has questioned the wisdom of targeting only diesel vehicles to solve all the problems concerning air pollution in the national capital.

Pawan Goenka, Executive Director, M&M and Group President (auto and farm sector) on Saturday said the automobile industry was not consulted by the NGT and targeting only diesel vehicles was unfair and discriminatory.

The move would hurt the industry since Delhi is the biggest market for automobile companies and it would also affect consumers who have been aspiring to buy new vehicles. The air quality will not improve unless older polluting vehicles are discarded from the city, he said.

He said over the years, diesel vehicles have become the whipping boys in India and are seen as the biggest villain today.

Backing up his arguments through data he said, “In the past 15 years, particulate matter (PM) has come down by 82 per cent and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 51 per cent in BSIV diesel vehicles as compared to pre-BSII vehicles. Once BSV vehicles will be introduced, the PM will come down by another 80 per cent and NOx will come down by another 36 per cent,” he added.

“I believe all the hard work done for the last 15 years to make vehicles cleaner has been thrown out of the window by just one order of the NGT,” he said.

Mr. Goenka said, in 1999, the Supreme Court had issued a directive for the implementation of emission norms to curb pollution in Delhi and not made a distinction between diesel and petrol vehicles. He said the question for differentiating between diesel and petrol was settled by the court in 1999. Since then emission norms have been made tighter and that has been done for both diesel and petrol vehicles. “So I don’t know why diesel is now looked as culprit even though the vehicles that we are selling today are meeting all the emission norms that have been prescribed by the government of India,” he said. He said all vehicles running on diesel, petrol and CNG contribute to pollution and the solution could be the ban on all such vehicles and the immediate introduction of electric vehicles in Delhi to clean the air quickly.

He said as per an IIT Kanpur study on air pollution in Delhi, passenger vehicles contribute only 4 per cent to the PM in Delhi and out of this 85 per cent is coming from pre-BSIV vehicles. “That means BSIV vehicles are contributing only 0.5 per cent to the total PM load in Delhi. So, is it a sufficient reason to ban new diesel vehicles?” he asked. “If we ban BSIV vehicles and if we continue with older vehicles the air quality will get worse. For every five BSV vehicles that come on to the road if one pre-2000 vehicle is removed the city will be PM neutral,” he added.

He said when a product is meeting the law of the land the authorities cannot ban it overnight. Mr. Goenka said diesel vehicles that are 20 per cent more efficient when it comes to CO2 emission can help India to meet its target to curb emissions.

“What was amazing was that the whole blame today has come on diesel vehicles and they have been made culprits for everything that is going wrong in the environment. One should not single out one villain which right now happens to be diesel vehicles. It is not right to ban diesel vehicles in Delhi and create problem for the industry and also for consumers,” he added.

Tata Motors officials said they would only be able to offer any comment after studying the order.

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