If it is laid down that diesel is a bad fuel on environmental grounds, TELCO's interests in the diesel car market would suffer. Hence it is reluctant to strongly enter the CNG bus arena, say market analysts
CNG bus market
The Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company (telco), one of the two leading diesel bus manufacturers in India, is clearly not very happy with the cng solution. The company has been still looking for a chance to negotiate for diesel. Since April 1999, when the Supreme Court began to address the diesel versus cng issue for Delhi buses, telco used every opportunity to project diesel as a more viable option. On April 29, 1999, the court heard the Bhure Lal committee's suggestion of restricting the registration of diesel cars in Delhi. Fali Nariman, counsel for telco and a member of the Rajya Sabha, argued that if diesel pollutes, so does petrol, and that both should be restricted. He insinuated that the committee's recommendation smacked of a bias against diesel.
telco didn't give up even after the court refused to dilute its stand on cng . On January 31, 2001, the court clarified that Euro ii diesel taxis could ply in the Capital. The telco counsel was quick to take up on that and argue for Euro ii diesel buses. The plea wasn't entertained. When the matter began to look serious in March 2001, Nariman waived yet another study to contend that diesel emissions could be better than those from cng . These frantic efforts point clearly to a campaign of the diesel industry to promote diesel, even if this is at the cost of public health.
One might wonder: why is telco so opposed to cng ? One possible explanation to this is that the company is desperately trying to protect its shrinking share in the bus market -- at any cost. Though still the largest seller of buses in India, telco is losing its market share to its competitor Ashok Leyland, which is close to capturing half the market share (see table: TELCO's market blues ). The total sales of buses in the country declined by as much as 20 per cent between 1997 and 1998, and further by 5 per cent between 1998 and 1999. The year 2000 saw a marked rise in sales -- the total sales in January-September 2000 were more than the total sales in 1999 -- probably due to booking orders after the cng order in the capital. Again, there was hardly any difference between the sales figures of the two companies -- Ashok Leyland sold 11,471 and telco sold 11,889 buses in January-September 2000.
The court order of July 28, 1998, of augmenting the city bus fleet to 10,000 and moving them to cng offered a huge cng market on a platter to the two competitors. Ashok Leyland immediately saw a business opportunity. It is making a dent in the market of northern India that has traditionally been a telco stronghold. telco resisted the move towards cng and lost out on the beginners' advantage. Being a market leader at the last count, they have booked orders for about 4,600 cng buses as on April 5, 2001, according to their claim. Ashok Leyland claims to have booked 2,051.
It is hardly surprising that telco's position on cng is cautious. Down To Earth sent a questionnaire to the two companies, asking them if they viewed cng as a key strategy to reduce air pollution and the risk it poses to public health. Ashok Leyland categorically said that it does. telco was more controlled in its response: "Our belief is that a holistic approach is required to reduce air pollution. Most advanced countries... seek to control vehicular emissions by advocating fuel balance aimed at reducing the harmful emissions from all fuels. Use of any one fuel alone would result in excessive emissions which are peculiar to that fuel."
Ashok leyland,more positive about CNG,is gaining India's market share at the cost of TELCO,which has constantly promoted diesel
|Year||BUS MARKET SHARE(percentage)||Percentage difference|
data provided by the Society for Indian Automobile manufacturers
*Data for January-September
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