THE COMPLAINT: BS III-compliant petrol ( fuel matching BS III engine) is not available in any petrol pump in the city. Registration of BS III vehicles and issuance of emission warranty are 'illegal', due to non-availability of reference fuel.
THE CAUSE: BS III unleaded petrol must have minimum 95 RON (research octane number), but Calcutta pumps only get 91 RON petrol. Higher octane number means smoother engine operation with less 'knocking', better combustion and so, better quality of emission.
A notification, GSR 686(E), dated October 20, 2004, issued by ministry of shipping, road transport and highways, mandates unleaded petrol with 95 RON for 11 cities, including Calcutta, from April 1, 2005.
This was to simultaneously come into effect with the mandatory registration of BS III vehicles.
Now, a complaint faxed to the director of public vehicles department (PVD) by auto emission expert S.M. Ghosh threatens to open up a Pandora's box on petrol quality.
'I am following it up with the oil companies,' says Mohammed Kamran, director, PVD. 'The Indian Oil authorities have confirmed that they are supplying 91 RON petrol here.'
The Indian Oil office in Calcutta claims 'no knowledge' about the 95 RON notification. 'We are supplying 91 RON to the city and adjoining areas, and 89 RON to the rest of the state,' states Dipankar Roy, chief divisional manager, IOC. 'Even in other cities, we mainly supply 91 RON, and 93 RON to a few select places' With the amount of refinery investment for 95 RON, immediate supply is out of the question,' he adds.
Delhi, meanwhile, is sticking to its position of unleaded petrol, with 95 RON being a must in 11 cities. 'The notification is definitely in effect and we will take up the (non-compliance) issue with the petroleum ministry,' Virender Singh, under-secretary, ministry of shipping, road transport and highways, told Metro.
Back in Calcutta, it has been confirmed that in November 2004, D.K. Bakshi of the transport department had informed PVD, state transport corporations and the auto emission testing association about the 95 RON notification. 'for necessary action'.