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Volkswagen had earlier submitted a plan to the tribunal to recall over 3.23 lakh vehicles in the country fitted with a ‘defeat device’ meant to fudge emission tests. Photo: Reuters
Volkswagen had earlier submitted a plan to the tribunal to recall over 3.23 lakh vehicles in the country fitted with a ‘defeat device’ meant to fudge emission tests. Photo: Reuters

Green tribunal asks Volkswagen to explain why polluting cars were not recalled

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) noted that Volkswagen has recalled only 64% of cars as undertaken by it and 36% of the polluting vehicles are still on road

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed German auto major Volkswagen, which is embroiled in a global emission scandal, to explain reasons for not recalling 3.23 lakh cars.

The tribunal noted that the company has recalled only 64% of cars as undertaken by it and 36% of the polluting vehicles are still on road.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel also asked the automobile company to reply why penal action should not be taken against it for not taking action in accordance with its undertaking.

“The manufacturers are also directed to file the latest status report about the proceedings against them in other countries and explain reasons for not recalling the vehicles and why penal action be not taken. Based on further affidavits, the tribunal may have to determine the nature of directions which may need to be issued," the bench, also comprising Justice R S Rathore, said. The bench also directed that all parties be given a copy of the Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India’s (ARAI) 2015 report on emission tests conducted on diesel cars. The tribunal had earlier asked the ARAI to explain details of tests carried out on diesel cars produced by Volkswagen.

The order had been issued after the tribunal was informed that the ARAI carried out tests at the instance of the ministry of heavy industries and examined 11 BS-IV compliant diesel vehicles of the German company under different conditions.

The automobile giant had earlier submitted a plan to the tribunal to recall over 3.23 lakh vehicles in the country fitted with a ‘defeat device’ meant to fudge emission tests. A ‘cheat’ or ‘defeat device’ is a piece of software in diesel engines to manipulate emission tests by changing the performance of cars.

Volkswagen India had in December 2015 announced the recall of 3,23,700 lakh vehicles in India to fix the emission software after the ARAI conducted tests on some models and found that their on-road emissions were 1.1-2.6 times higher than the applicable BS-IV norms.

The automobile giant had admitted to the use of the ‘defeat device’ in 11 million diesel cars sold in the US, Europe and other global markets that allowed manipulation of emission tests by changing the performance of vehicles to improve results.

After the tests by the ARAI, Volkswagen India had undertaken to rejig the software by recalling around 3.23 lakh vehicles fitted with EA 189 diesel engines, which were in alleged violation of emission norms. The company, however, had said that the recall in India was purely voluntary as it did not face any charges regarding violating emission norms in India unlike in the US.

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