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The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers on Wednesday welcomed the Union Petroleum Ministry's decision for early introduction of "BS-VI Gasoline and Diesel Fuel" in the national capital territory (NCT) of Delhi from April 2018, instead of April 2020.
The automobile industry body also welcomed the ministry's tentative plan to extend availability of Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) fuel across the national capital region (NCR) from April 1, 2019.
SIAM described the decision as a "step in the right direction" following best practices globally.
It informed that in the developed countries the higher grade of fuel is generally introduced a couple of years prior to the introduction of higher emission norms for vehicles.
According to Abhay Firodia, President, SIAM, the decision will give confidence to the auto industry about the availability of the fuel grade across the country from April 1, 2020.
The Indian auto industry will fully migrate to manufacturing of only BS VI compliant vehicles on a pan India basis from April 1, 2020.
"Use of BS VI fuel with lower sulphur content may also improve the particulate emissions from the existing fleet of vehicles which are presently plying in the national capital to some extent," Firodia said.
"In addition, if the government also effectively enforces the order to remove old BS II and earlier vintage vehicles from plying in the national capital, it would greatly reduce the contribution of vehicular pollution in the region."
On Wednesday, the Petroleum Ministry in consultation with public oil marketing companies (OMCs) decided on preponement of BS-VI grade auto fuels in NCT of Delhi to tackle the high pollution levels in the Indian capital.
"This measure is expected to help mitigate the problem of air pollution in NCT of Delhi and surrounding areas," the ministry said in a release.
Noting that oil refiners are making huge investments in fuel upgradation to produce the required BS-VI grade fuels, the government said it had decided to "leapfrog directly from BS-IV to BS-VI grade by 1st April, 2020, skipping BS-V altogether".
The BS-IV grade transportation fuels were rolled out across the country from April 1, 2017.
Illegal crop burning in the neighbouring states coupled with vehicular and industrial emissions have caused a sharp deterioration in the air quality in Delhi beginning earlier this month along with the onset of cooler weather.