Automated eyewash

Final report of the Mashelkar committee on auto fuel policy a complete letdown

Published: Thursday 31 October 2002

the much-hailed Mashelkar committee's final report on the country's auto fuel policy was released recently. While the interim report, released in January 2002 was extremely weak and uncaring about public health objectives, the final draft is only slightly better with mere cosmetic changes.

The committee is headed by R A Mashelkar, director general of New Delhi-based Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The recent report of the committee makes a distinction between pollution hot spots (polluted cities) and the rest of the country, while recommending emission norms. The report has added four more cities in the 'most polluted' list. However, the time frame and deadlines fixed by the committee seem ineffectual, even if they are finally implemented.

Apart from the four metros, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur and Agra have been listed as most polluted cities. Under the Euro iii category, four metros and seven cities have been identified as most polluted. In these cities, Euro iii equivalent norms are to be imposed from April 2005. For the rest of the country, the deadline has been set for April 2010.

While the committee's interim report had completely ignored the existence of Euro iv norms, the final one recommends the implementation of these standards for some cities by 2010. But a deadline for the implementation of these stringent norms on an all-India basis has not been set yet. Moreover, the report has ignored implementation of Euro v norms entirely.

The Mashelkar committee's final report dilutes even what the industry proposes. The road map of the Society for Indian Automobile Manufacturers (siam), which was presented in 2000, commits the industry to meet Euro iii and Euro iv emission standards by 2004 and 2007 respectively. For Euro iv in commercial vehicles, it mentions the deadline as 2008.

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