March 27, 2018 9:59:22 am
The Supreme Court Monday asked the Centre to consider if it was possible to roll out BS-VI fuel in thirteen metro cities by April 2019. A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also directed the Centre to look into the question of differential pricing for diesel to disincentivise the use of the fuel, use of which has been cited as a contributor to pollution.
The court gave Additional Solicitor General A S Nadkarni appearing for the Centre two weeks time to get back to it after consulting Oil Marketing Companies (OMC’s).
The Centre had earlier informed the court that it had set the April 1, 2020 deadline for switching over to Euro-VI across the country. It will first be rolled out in the national capital by April 1 this year and then expanded to NCR and other cities.
The Ministry for Petroleum and Natural Gas and conveyed this to the court in an affidavit recently..
The court had on February 2, while hearing matters related to air pollution in Delhi and NCT states, asked the centre to apprise it about the status of availability of BS-VI fuel in the national capital with effect from April 1. Pursuant to this, the ministry wrote to Oil Marketing Companies (OMC’s) having retail outlets in NCT of Delhi asking them to confirm whether they would be supplying the fuel in their outlets from April 1, which is the date set by the government for the BS-VI roll out.
“That in response to the above, all the iMacs having retail outlets in Delhi, ie Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), Bharat Petrolatum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Essar Oil Ltd (EOL) have confirmed that BS-VI fuels will be supplied in their retail outlets in NCT of Delhi w.e.f. 1.4.2018”, the Ministry said.
During the hearing Monday, advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the court in the pollution matter wondered why the BS-VI fuel could not be rolled out in more cities by April 1, 2019 given that pollution was a pressing issue. She said BS-IV fuel had been rolled out in multiple cities in one go.
On the issue of diesel fuel pricing, the Centre said that increasing the price of the fuel would impact the movement of heavy vehicles which in turn would lead to rise in price of vegetables and other essential items.
The bench said that differential pricing can be introduced in a way which ensures that price of diesel does not act as stimulus for purchase of commercial and passenger vehicles and also does not impact the running of heavy vehicles.
The apex court had, in March last year, banned the sale and registration of vehicles, which were not BS-IV compliant, in India from April 1, 2017 when the new emission norms came into force.
It had observed that the health of the people was “far, far more important than the commercial interests” of the manufacturers.
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