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Twenty Indian cities to switch to BS IV emission norms by 1 Mar

Twenty Indian cities to switch to BS IV emission norms by 1 Mar

New Delhi: As part of India’s commitment towards cleaner fuel, 17 cities have switched to Bharat Stage 4 (BS IV) emission norms, with three more cities to be added on 1 March.

“There is a general consensus among the stakeholders that it is better to extend these emission norms to other cities at the earliest. Petroleum ministry has said that the oil companies will be able to supply BS IV-compliant fuel to top 50 cities by 2015," said a government official, requesting anonymity.

According to the national auto fuel policy, in 2010, the BS IV norms were implemented in 13 cities—the national capital region, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur, Agra, Solapur and Lucknow, while BS III norms were made effective across the country. The 17 cities where BS IV emission norms have been implemented constitute at least 40% of the domestic car market.

“In the first phase of converting to BS III and IV, the entire industry had invested around 32,000 crore for the refinery upgradation. We are quite sure that we will be covering 50 cities by 2015," said the chief executive of an oil marketing company requesting anonymity.

According to India’s petroleum ministry, the additional cities to be covered under BS IV will be considered on the basis of “pollution levels and the vehicle population...inclusion of all state capitals and cities with population of more than one crore will be emphasized while selecting the additional cities for extension of BS IV auto fuels".

“We are ready to extend this to 50 cities by 2015. We are prepared. The investment has already been done by the refineries. Now it is only a matter of logistics," said a senior executive at state-controlled Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd requesting anonymity.

The extension of the BS IV emission norms in 50 big cities across the country will also spell the end of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s first small car—the Maruti 800. The car’s engine has not been upgraded to the BS IV norms. However, the company is in the process of developing a replacement for the car.

The Indian automobile industry welcomed the move but urged the government to make it a countrywide phenomenon.

“It is good for the environment and for the industry, but the government needs to ensure that it should get implemented across the country at the earliest. Providing BS IV fuel to only 50 cities gives an impression that India is a poor country and cannot afford this fuel for across the country at a time when we aim to become a developed nation by 2020," said Vishnu Mathur, director-general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, a lobby group.

India plans to draw the road map to reduce its future emissions.

“The government proposes to formulate a long-term policy and strategy to increase mobility but reduce emissions from transport by the year 2050, following European pattern of non-conventionally fuelled cars in cities, reduction in emissions from shipping, and use of low-carbon fuels in aviation and shift the inter city transport from road to rail," according to the environment ministry.

Utpal Bhaskar contributed to the report.

amrit.r@livemint.com

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