The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) decision to ban diesel cars of more than 10 years old has met with a lot of criticisms, not only from the owners of the banned vehicles, but also from the automotive industry that finds it unfair to issue such orders overnight. Retaliating against the decision quite vocally is now Maruti Suzuki’s chairman, RC Bhargava who questioned if the ban will actually help in improving air quality. In a recent statement, Bhargava said, “This ban on diesel cars, at least I can’t see how it will make any measurable difference in air quality in Delhi but it will certainly hurt the industry more than that.”
The ban on diesel cars of more than 10 years old has affected over 2 lakh car owners in the national capital who found their once prized possessions being towed away into the scrap yard for nickels. The owners complain that the decision was taken without them being heard or given sufficient time to comply with the ban. Moreover, owners haven’t received any compensation from the government for voluntarily scrapping their vehicles.
Bhargava said that the owners did nothing wrong and complied with the law when purchasing these vehicles. “Suddenly they find without being heard that their asset has just become scrap. I don’t know how far that is fair, how far that is justified as far as those people are concerned. It is (vehicles) their means of livelihood, it is their means of going to their business,” he commented.
When asked about the effect of the ban on car sales, the Chairman, of India’s largest auto manufacturer said that he isn’t worried about the new car sales being affected. The ones purchasing cars will continue to do so irrespectively of the ban. Iterating his point, he said that those buying diesel cars earlier will now switch to petrol. An older report by IIT Kanpur in its findings stated that cars contribute a mere 2.2 per cent to Delhi’s overall pollution problems, which led to several people questioning if other problems were being ignored under the pretext of banning cars.
Earlier this month, the NGT ordered that the Transport Department in Delhi to issue a public notice related to the ban and supply the list of such vehicles to the Delhi Traffic Police, which will take steps to follow the tribunal’s directive. The decision comes independent of the Supreme Court’s order to ban diesel cars in the Delhi-NCR region with an engine capacity of 2000cc and above. The rule which was applied in December last year has been extended till date and severely affected several luxury car manufacturers, apart from mass market UV makers.