The coordination committee of 4 ministries -- environment and forests, petroleum, surface transport and industries -- has decided to advance the enforcement of auto-emission norms specified for 1996 to cover vehicles sold in the 4 metropolises after April 1 this year. This follows the decision of the committee to register after March 31 only those new vehicles that have been provided with catalytic converters.
The decision also comes in the wake of the petroleum industry being told to start supplying unleaded petrol at over 100 outlets -- 30 each in Delhi and Calcutta, 34 in Bombay and 10 in Madras -- from April 1.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has announced a subsidy of Rs 1,000 on each catalytic converter for 3- and 2-wheeler owners. The subsidy is targeted as an incentive for the 15 lakh 2- and 3-wheelers in the city, which together cause more pollution than 4-wheelers.
In a related development, Associated Octel, an UK-based manufacturer of fuel additives, claims that benzene and other volatile organic compounds added to increase the octane rating of unleaded petrol can cause cancer. The company has suggested a petro-ethanol mix as an alternative fuel.