ROADMAP TO REDUCE
The new auto fuel
policy has laid out a roadmap to cut down vehicular pollution
in Indian cities. It is an important step towards cleaning the
air of vehicular pollution in the next seven years.
Auto Fuel Policy announced by the Petroleum Minister, Shri Ram
Naik on October 6, 2003 envisages a phased programme for introducing
vehicular emission norms in the country by 2010. The policy seeks
to improve the fuel quality and vehicular engine specifications.
It has proposed that liquid fuels remain the main auto fuel throughout
the country and suggested the use of CNG and LPG in cities affected
by higher pollution levels to enable vehicle owners have the choice
of the fuel and technology combination.
The sulphur content
in the fuel is the villain causing health damage through its exhaust.
The Government adopted a roadmap to clean the air of vehicular
air pollution in cities after the Supreme Court reprimanded it
for laxity in curbing air pollution. The Central Government appointed
an expert committee in September 2001 under the chairmanship of
Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, Director-General, Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR), to suggest a roadmap taking the country
to better urban air quality levels.
norms for fuels means steadily reducing the sulphur and aromatics
content in petrol and diesel fuels. Euro II, for example, stipulates
that sulphur be controlled at 350 parts-per-million (ppm) in diesel
and 150 ppm in petrol. Aromatic hydrocarbons are to be contained
at 42 per cent of the concerned fuel. The goal, according to the
Mashelkar roadmap, is to reduce sulphur to 50 ppm in petrol and
diesel and bring down the level to 35 per cent. Corresponding
to the fuel, vehicle engines will also need to be upgraded.
has laid out a phased programme for introducing Euro-IV vehicular
emission norms in the country by 2010, requiring an investment
of Rs. 55,000 crore by oil and automobile companies in improving
fuel quality and vehicular engine specifications.
The Bharat Stage
II (equivalent to Euro-II norms), which is currently in place
in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad,
Pune, Surat, Kanpur and Agra, will be applicable to all automobiles
throughout the country from April 1, 2005.
and fuel-petrol and diesel – will have to meet Euro III emission
specifications in these 11 cities from April 1, 2005 and Euro-IV
norms by April 1, 2010.
The rest of the
country will have Euro-III emission norm compliant automobiles
and fuels by 2010.
For two-and three-wheelers,
Bharat State-II norms will be applicable from April 1, 2005 and
Euro-III norms would come in force preferably from April 1, 2008,
but not later than April , 2010.
oil refineries which have already invested Rs. 10,000 crore to
achieve Euro-I auto fuel specifications, would need to incur an
additional investment of around Rs. 18,000 crore by 2005 and Rs.
12,000 crore by 2010. The investment requirement of the automobile
industry is estimated at around Rs. 25,000 crore over this period.
As the modified
road map for compliance of emission norms, the new policy has
allowed that after April 2007, inter-State buses/trucks would
not be allowed to originate or terminate in Delhi, unless they
meet the minimum of India-2000 emission norms. The cut-off point
for meeting Bharat-II norms will be April 2011.
respect to ten other cities, all inter-State buses will have to
meet with effect from April 2006, a minimum of the 1996 emission
norms, in case they were registered before April 2002. They have
to meet with effect from April 2008, a minimum of India-2000 norms,
if they were registered after April 2000.
In respect of
ten other major cities, all inter-State buses would need to meet
a minimum of Bharat II emission norms from April 2011 if these
vehicles are registered after April 2005.
Apart from Delhi,
the ten cities which are covered under the strict compliance of
emission norms are : Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad,
Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur and Agra.
As for new vehicles,
the norm states that no vehicle could be sold in the entire country
unless it meets the Bharat II norms after April 2005 and Euro
III after April 2010.
In case of the
11 major cities, Bharat II stage has already been enforced as
of April 2003 while Bharat III stage will be enforced from April
2005. Vehicles not having emission norms equal to Bharat IV norms
would be sold in these cities after April 2010 under the policy.
of Petroleum and Natural Gas will ensure fuel quality while the
Ministry for Road Transport and Highways will monitor the automobiles’
engine specifications. Pollution checks will be the responsibility
of the Ministry of Environment.
The auto fuel
policy has deviated from the Mashelkar Committee recommendations
on two counts. Firstly, the fiscal concessions like excise duty
relief have not been provided immediately. This aspect will be
looked after in the annual budget. Secondly, the proposal to form
a National Automobile Pollution and Fuel Authority has not been
accepted and individual ministries will continue to monitor the
standards. Inter-State buses/trucks would not be allowed to originate
or terminate in Delhi after April 1, 2007 unless they meet the
minimum of Euro-I emission norms. The cut off point for meeting
Euro-II norms will be April 1, 2011. In other cities, all inter-State
buses will have to meet a minimum of 1996 emisssion norms from
April 1, 2006 and Euro-I norm from April 2008.
Critical of the
Mashelkar report on the roadmap for cleaning the air of vehicular
pollution, an environmental group feels that the Union Cabinet’s
decision to accept the draft policy will not result in any substantial
reduction in air pollution in Indian cities.
roadmap prescribes an incremental approach for upgradation of
fuel standard and vehicle design. The Centre for Science and Environment
(CSE), an NGO, says there is enough evidence of people’s health
falling victim to critical levels of pollution.
The policy says
that most of the cities it targets will get Euro III standards,
which are incrementally better than Euro II, in 2010. The CSE
feels that this totally ignores Delhi’s experience of technological
leap frogging with aggressive use of alternative fuels and quicker
implementation of advanced emission norms.
the CNG experiment in Delhi, the CSE feels that air pollution
levels have only stabilized. A lot needs to be done to bring down
pollution levels drastically, it said.
aspect of the policy on the phased reduction of auto engine emissions
is that car making units and ancillary manufacturers will no longer
have to bear the entire burden of the transition to Euro III norms
over the next seven years. They must do their bit, of course.
But, now onwards, the oil refiners too will have a major stake
in lowering emissions, as car makers as well as fuel suppliers
in 11 major Indian cities ready themselves to meet Euro III norms
from April 1, 2005. But huge outlays like Rs. 55,000 crore would
be even more vindicated if there is also a change in the mind-set
of the private users towards greater public transport use. That
will immediately slash fuel use as single passenger/driver cars
yield space to bussing, or comparable modes of collective travel.
Fuel use will be slashed to the extent that greater metro rail
drives up power use.
This is the way
matters have been moving in the developed countries. The suburban
US commuters access commercial centres either riding bicycles
or walking from the nearest railway station. In Japan too, the
passengers who intend getting on to the famous ‘Bullet Train’
going to Tokyo, first travel to the station nearest to them; they
then leave their bicycles or mopeds in the parking lots provided
there. Progressive emission norms and the resources required to
implement them must be seen as just one component of an efficient
energy or pollution management in the society. This is why it
is important to get more and more people using mass public transport
even as we move towards zero emission norms.
The Supreme Court
had strong-armed the government into enforcing strict vehicular
emission norms in the principal metros. Its chief concern was
with public health being put to serious risk by the polluting
exhaust from the growing number of motor vehicles. Going a step
further, the apex court had also insisted on the use of preferred
technologies – such as CNG for buses and auto-rickshaws - in order
to limit pollution levels that were choking the key cities. (PIB