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Car complaint to PM

New Delhi, Nov. 14: Jairam Ramesh has complained to the Prime Minister about the failure to notify fuel efficiency standards for cars over a year after they were due, pushing the cause despite no longer being the environment minister.

“I was shocked to learn recently that mandatory fuel efficiency standards for cars have yet to be notified,” Ramesh, now the Union rural development minister, wrote to Manmohan Singh on November 3.

The mandatory standards aim to enhance fuel efficiency by introducing new technology for better mileage. Singh himself is involved in the initiative. The standards have already been drawn up and are said to have been approved by the PMO.

“All technical work has been done over a year ago and these standards were to be notified by December 2011,” Ramesh wrote. The Prime Minister replied saying the matter was being “looked into”.

As environment minister, Ramesh had pursued the programme vigorously and highlighted India’s resolve to implement the standards at the climate summits in Copenhagen and Cancun.

“Given the personal interest you have taken, I thought I should bring this matter to your attention. The matter, I am told, is now pending in the ministry of power which has to notify the standards,” Ramesh wrote.

Anumita Roychowdhury, the executive director at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), blamed the delay on an auto industry lobby that she claimed was against the standards as it involved “lot of changes in technology”. “The industry has to partially implement the standards by 2015 and fully by 2020.”

The government has enforced exhaust norms to measure harmful gases. Fuel efficiency standards are necessary for energy security and reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.