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NGT panel orders Volkswagen to pay Rs 100 crore fine in emissions case

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 17, 2019, 11.22 AM (IST)

After a National Green Tribunal (NGT) panel recommended major fine on Volkswagen for causing "health damages" and air pollution in Delhi due to excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, the tribunal asked the German carmaker to deposit Rs 100 crore in the emission case by 5pm on Friday.

The anti-pollution body said failure to deposit the amount would result in punitive action including the arrest of carmaker's India Managing Director(MD) and seizure of all properties in India.

On Tuesday, a four-member panel had recommended  Rs 171.34 crore fine on German auto major for causing health hazard in Delhi. The expert committee in its report had estimated that Volkswagen cars released approximately 48.678 tonnes of NOx in 2016 in the national capital.

Nitrogen oxide is a smog-forming pollutant linked to heart and lung disease.

The four-member panel comprising of ARAI director Rashmi Urdhwareshe, chief scientist of CSIR-NEERI Dr Nitin Labhsetwar, director of ministry of heavy industries Ramakant Singh and Prashant Gargava, member of CPCB had concluded that the approximate figure of Rs 171.34 crore was a "conservative" estimate due to lack of methodologies for calculating the overall impact of nitrogen oxide on the environment in India.

The panel was formed last year to give expert advice on effect of car emissions on the environment. The committee had told the NGT that cars were a major source of nitrogen oxide emissions with nitrogen dioxide being the most prevalent source form of nitrogen oxide.

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

The German company had admitted to the use of 'defeat device' in 11 million diesel engine cars sold in the US, Europe, and other global markets to manipulate emission test results.

Last month as fog conditions escalated in the capital, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said the government would implement the odd-even scheme, to regulate plying of private vehicles in the city.

However, the measure wasn't implemented as pollution levels remained under control in the last week of December and in the new year.