The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Clean air drive to ignite cash engine

New Delhi, Oct. 6: The new auto fuel policy, cleared by the Union cabinet on Friday, will entail an additional investment of Rs 55,000 crore by the public sector oil refiners and the automobile industry in order to bring down auto emission levels to the latest western standards.

Petroleum minister Ram Naik today said the national oil companies would have to invest around Rs 18,000 crore by the year 2005 to produce cleaner petrol and diesel.

During 2005-2010 they would have to spend another Rs 12,000 crore to improve these fuels to match the final Euro-III phase for the entire country and the higher Euro IV stage for big cities.

The automobile industry, on the other hand, will have to invest around Rs 25,000 crore to produce “greener’ vehicles.

The auto emission norms drawn up for new vehicles, which is equivalent to the new auto Euro III emission norms, will be introduced for cars and light commercial vehicles and heavy-duty diesel vehicles by 2005 in Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur and Agra. The more stringent Euro IV norms will be introduced in these cities by 2010.

For the rest of the country, where pollution levels are relatively lower, the policy proposes to introduce Bharat stage II norms by April 1, 2005 and Euro III equivalent norms by 2010.

For two- and three-wheelers, the policy proposes to introduce Bharat stage II norms in the entire country by April 1, 2005 and the higher Bharat stage III norms “preferably” from April 1, 2008 “but not later than April 1, 2010”.

The minister said that the new policy aims to achieve the twin objectives of providing an assured supply of auto fuels and meeting environmental concerns. It envisages petrol and diesel to be main auto fuels throughout the country by progressively upgrading the quality in line with vehicular emission norms.

The use of CNG and LPG would be encouraged in the four metros and big cities affected by high vehicular pollution. Vehicle owners, however, will have a choice of fuel and technology combination to meet the higher emission norms in such cities, the minister said.

The policy also addresses the issue of reducing pollution from vehicles that are currently in use. It envisages the introduction of new improved pollution-under-control checking systems for vehicles as well as better inspection and maintenance systems.

Naik said that a number of public interest litigation suits were filed in various courts of the country seeking issuance of directions for controlling vehicular pollution in big cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta.

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