The Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it will advance by two years the deadline for supply of Euro-VI petrol and diesel and start supplying these in Delhi from April 1, considering the "serious pollution levels" in Delhi and adjoining areas.
The government in an affidavit filed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) said this to a bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Deepak Gupta.
The Centre's affidavit came in response to the court's February 5 directions whereby it had asked to clear its position on the availability of Bharat Stage (BS)-VI emission standard compliant fuel in Delhi.
BS-VI emission standard was scheduled to come into force from April 1, 2020 across the country.
"In view of the confirmation given by the oil marketing companies (OMCs) and taking into account the serious pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas and as per the decision taken by the ministry in consultation with OMCs, it is respectfully submitted that BS-VI auto fuels will be supplied in all the retail outlets of NCT of Delhi from April 1, 2018," the affidavit said.
It said that "after considering the environmental benefits of early introduction of BS-VI fuels, it was decided to advance the supply of BS-VI in NCT of Delhi from April 1 itself and necessary directions were issued to the OMCs vide dated November 15, 2017."
The affidavit added that the oil marketing companies having retail outlets in NCT of Delhi were against requested to confirm that they will be supplying BS-VI auto fuels in NCT of Delhi from April 1.
"In response to the above, all the OMCs having retail outlets in NCT of Delhi, i.e., Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Reliance Industries Ltd and Essar Oil Ltd have confirmed that BS-VI auto fuels will be supplied in their retail outlets in NCT of Delhi with effect from April 1," it said.
Environmentalists had said Euro-VI fuel could substantially reduce pollution levels in the vehicle-concentrated national capital.
The court had on February 5 described the issue of vehicular pollution as "very serious" and a "critical problem" and observed that it would have an impact not only on this generation but also on children yet to be born.
The apex court had said the government could not take the issue lightly and directed the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) to file an affidavit, indicating the position as regards the availability of Bharat Stage (BS)-VI emission standard compliant fuel in Delhi.
The apex court had, in March last year, banned the sale and registration of vehicles, which were not BS-IV compliant, in India from April 1, 2017 when the new emission norms came into force.
It had observed that the health of the people was "far, far more important than the commercial interests" of the manufacturers.