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None of the 17 laboratories accredited with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas have the requisite facility to test petrol and diesel for adulteration, the Ministry informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Friday.
“It is stated that out of 20 labs, response from 17 labs (including IIT Delhi, IIT Madras and IIT Mumbai) was received. Except for IIT Madras, all the laboratories expressed their inability to detect the percentage of content of Naptha and Kerosene in case of adulteration of petrol and diesel, as currently they are not equipped with the requisite testing facilities,” stated the affidavit filed by the Ministry.
In January, the NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar had issued orders to the ministry to collect samples of fuel from various petrol pumps in Delhi and test them for adulteration, after a plea claimed that adulterated fuel was a major cause of air pollution in the capital.
In January, the Tribunal had constituted a committee comprising officials from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and state pollution control boards, to conduct joint inspection at 10 petrol pumps and analyse fuel samples in the laboratories of the state boards and the CPCB.
Taking a serious view of the affidavit, the NGT has now directed the members of the Committee to be present on September 14, the next date of hearing.
The NGT also directed the state governments to show how they had conducted tests for fuel adulteration earlier, and asked them to explain how action was taken against persons involved in fuel adulteration if basic testing facilities were absent.
IIT Madras, in its response to the Ministry, had said that while they have the facility to detect the presence of Naptha and Kerosene in a fuel sample, they do not have the equipment to test or quantify the percentage of adulteration.
The NGT’s directions came in response to a plea by Delhi resident Cherub Singla, who had sought directions to inspect the quality of fuel at petrol pumps across the country, especially in cities facing acute air pollution.
In his plea, filed through advocate Avneesh Arputham, Singla had contended that fuel adulteration increases the emission of total hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, thus adding to air pollution.
The petition had sought closure of petrol pumps and other agencies found dealing with adulterated fuels.