SC to decide on fate of diesel cars today

Auto industry in a state of confusion over green tribunal order against diesel cars

GN Bureau | December 15, 2015



In the backdrop of various measures to contain rising air pollution in Delhi, the Supreme Court will take up a batch of applications seeking a ban on diesel vehicles or a limitation on their registration in Delhi today.

"We will hear it on Tuesday as other matter is already listed for hearing," a bench headed by chief justice TS Thakur said when an advocate sought urgent hearing of his plea for banning diesel vehicles in some cities in the country.

The apex court had on December 10 stepped into the raging debate on pollution and had agreed to examine a suggestion to ban entry of all diesel-run trucks, except those carrying essential goods, into the national capital.

It had also asked the centre to come up with "common minimum acceptable programmes" on the issue after consulting all stakeholders.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae in a 1984 PIL filed by environmentalist MC Mehta on the issue, had suggested that trucks, except those carrying essential goods into Delhi, can be banned in pursuance of the 2001 order of the apex court.

Meanwhile, automakers fear an immediate loss of ‘hundreds of crores of rupees’ after national green tribunal’s order curbing the sale of new diesel vehicles in the national capital. The NGT on Friday ordered an immediate ban on registration of diesel-run vehicles in Delhi as also on renewal of registration of such vehicles which are more than 10 years old.

The companies want the government to immediately clarify about registration and delivery of the vehicles for which the customers have already made part or full payments. The companies also stare at huge losses in form of the inventory they had lined up for year-end sales -- typically a period when industry doles out big discounts to clear the inventories.

According to the industry estimates, the order has led to an immediate impact on ‘thousands’ of diesel vehicles, including high-end cars, that have already been booked by the customers in Delhi by making full or part payments and the process was underway to deliver those vehicles and get them registered.

The exact number of affected vehicles could not be ascertained immediately, while many more ‘thousands’ of diesel vehicles would also have to remain in godowns as the companies would not be able to sell the inventory they had lined up for year-end sales. Industry estimates suggest this would mean possible losses to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees.

According to an auto sector analyst, around 1,400-1,500 vehicles are registered daily on an average in Delhi, out of which around 30% are diesel-run.

There are customers who have purchased vehicles, but registrations have not happened yet.

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