The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises today moved the National Green Tribunal seeking directions not to extend to other cities the Supreme Court mandated ban on registration of vehicles beyond 2000 cc on the ground that it would have an adverse effect on the momentum of growth of the automobile industry.
The Ministry, which has filed an application for impleadment in a case related to the air pollution, has also requested the green panel not to apply any restrictions on "sale and registration" of new vehicles in any city, which are complying with the statutory emission norms irrespective of fuel used.
"The Supreme Court... has passed an order on December 16, 2015 banning registration of SUV and private cars of the capacity of 2000 cc and above using diesel as fuel in the NCR up to 31st March, 2016. Subsequently the Supreme Court had extended the ban up to April 30, 2016 and on April 30, 2016 the Supreme Court maintained the status quo till the matter is taken up by it post vacation.
"That in the light of the above developments, the Department of Heavy Industry is of the view that the extension of the above ban imposed by the Supreme Court to 11 cities by the NGT would have adverse effect on the momentum of growth of auto industry...," the Ministry said in its plea before a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.
It said the automobile industry is the largest constituent of the manufacturing sector in the country's economy which contributes to more than 47 per cent of the manufacturing GDP of the country. Besides, it is the fifth largest sector receiving Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country.
The ministry further said it has taken various measures to balance the requirements of protecting environment and carrying out sustained economic development, which is being guided through the 'Make in India' campaign.
"It is stated principal that there should be a balance between environmental concern and development, therefore, any precipitate decision to ban registration of diesel engine above 2000 cc will have adverse effect on the growth of automobile industry in the country which is the highest employment provider in manufacturing sector," the plea said.
The ministry said all new four-wheeled vehicles currently manufactured and sold in cities conform to BS-IV norms specified by the government, except heavy vehicles having national permit which are on BS III norms and as such their sales and registration cannot be justifiably banned.
It said that any orders restricting the registration or sale of vehicles, which comply with all legal norms and standards, "would impinge on the rights of the manufacturers to carry on their business lawfully in the country".
"We would plead with the tribunal that any vehicle that meets the prevalent emission control norms may be allowed to ply on roads and its registration may not be banned.
Certainly, there is a case for strengthening these norms and the government has decided to implement Bharat Stage VI norms with effect from April 2020.
"The fuel and automobile industries have to make substantial investments and upgrade their technology to comply with these stringent norms. The investment requirements for this transition are huge and the industry needs sufficient lead-time for investment in the new technology.
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