New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to look into the issue of pricing of diesel so that its low price does not act as an incentive to purchase mid-segment passenger vehicles.

The courts’ observation was made with regard to supply of Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) auto fuels (petrol and diesel) across the national capital region (NCR) by 1 April.

Expanding the scope of the rollout, the top court proposed the possibility of introducing BS-VI auto fuels across 13 leading metros by 1 April. The Centre may consult oil marketing companies (OMCs) for such proposal, it was held.

The OMCs are Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Reliance Industries Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd and Essar Oil Ltd.

On 21 February, the Centre had informed the court about its ability to supply BS-VI auto fuels (petrol and diesel) to retail outlets in Delhi, starting 1 April.

“After taking into account the serious pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas and as per the decision taken by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in consultation with Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), it is respectfully submitted that BS-VI auto fuels will be supplied in all retail outlets of Delhi from 1 April, 2018," the Centre had said in an affidavit.

In April 2017, automobile manufacturers had informed the apex court of technological difficulties in starting the process of converting vehicles to meet BS-VI emissions standards from 2019 in order to meet the April 2020 deadline.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by environmentalist M.C. Mehta in 1985.

A series of orders have been passed by the court over the years to try and curb growing pollution in the national capital region centred on Delhi.

Last year, the court banned the sale and registration of vehicles that are not compliant with BS-IV norms after 31 March 2017.

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