The Delhi government has issued a health advisory and adviced people to stay indoors. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The Central government on Wednesday advanced its deadline to roll out the much cleaner Bharat Stage (BS)-VI compliant auto fuel by April 1, 2018 — instead of April 1, 2020 — in Delhi to control severe air pollution levels in the city and its adjoining areas.
The next-generation fuel is equivalent to Euro-VI and will reduce sulphur emissions by 80 per cent, compared to the existing BS-IV fuel standards, according to reports. But the two-stage leapfrog to implement the world's toughest vehicle emission standards is also likely to spike prices of vehicles.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said that it took the decision in consultation with public oil marketing companies (OMCs) and has asked them to examine the possibility of introducing BS-VI fuel in the whole of National Capital Region — that also includes parts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan — from April 1, 2019.
''Happy to share that government has decided to prepone the introduction of BS-VI grade Fuel in NCT of Delhi with effect from 1st April 2018 in place of 1st April 2020 as a sincere effort to curb the vehicular pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas,'' tweeted Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday.
Happy to share that Government has decided to prepone the introduction of BS-VI grade Fuel in NCT of Delhi w.e.f. 1st April 2018 in place of 1st April 2020 as a sincere effort to curb the vehicular pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas.— Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) November 15, 2017
According to the ministry, the oil refineries would have to spend Rs 80,000 crore for the switch. Vehicular emissions and illegal crop stubble burning have been causing air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
The Centre's decision was welcomed by environmental groups such as Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Greenpeace and the automobile industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
Both NOx and PM emissions by Heavy Duty Vehicles will come down significantly. pic.twitter.com/FAmzBGzraB— Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) November 15, 2017
Early migration to BS-VI fuels in the National Capital of Delhi will help in saving thousands of precious lives by bringing down vehicular pollution significantly. pic.twitter.com/7r2lCCYeUP— Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) November 15, 2017
"It is a good, proactive move and it will have its impact. If you are bringing clean fuel, it will bring optimal efficiency in existing emission systems. Though the full benefit will come only when the advanced emissions control system is introduced in vehicles," DNA quoted CSE's Anumita Roychowdhury as saying.
In April this year, the Supreme Court banned registration and sale of vehicles that were not BS-III compliant. But the automobile industry was saddled with a stock of 8 lakh BS-III vehicles worth Rs 20,000 crore. Auto makers sought a modification in the court order and were allowed to sell their stock.