Automobile manufacturers have told the Supreme Court that it was “not possible” for them to convert the existing stock of BS-III compliant two and four wheelers to Bharat Stage-IV emission norms.
The manufacturers’ response came after the court wanted to know about the cost of converting a BS-III vehicle to BS-IV level before it is launched in the market.
“As far as cars and scooters are concerned, it cannot be converted from BS-III to BS-IV….It is not possible. Cost is secondary,” the counsel appearing for one of the manufacturers told a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta.
The court was hearing pleas of automobile firms seeking permission for disposing of around 8.2 lakh BS-III vehicles which are being held in stock.
They have approached the apex court to dispose of their stock as the BS-IV emission norms are to come into force from April 1 this year.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for the Centre, told the bench that fuel for BS-IV vehicle is “much cleaner” and the oil refineries have spent around Rs 30,000 crore since 2010 to produce it. He said a BS-III vehicle can run on BS-IV fuel and “it is not that BS-III vehicles will become redundant because these will run on BS-IV fuel”.
Kumar said that as per the data, around 19 crore vehicles are on road across the country and nobody has challenged or filed objection either after the draft notification on the issue was published or after the notification came. He said the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has never gone to the government opposing the notification and it has also not given reports regarding the environment.
“The committee (EPCA) is there for around last 20 years, they are not giving reports to the government,” he said. To this, the bench said, “Blame game is going on in everything. We do not want that.” The solicitor general, however, clarified that he was not blaming anybody.
He argued that the government was “not wishing away with all BS-III vehicles from the roads” as a large number of the total vehicles were BS-III compliant.