Clean call

Let the Bhure Lal Committee decide on what qualifies to be a clean fuel, says the Supreme Court

 
Published: Thursday 31 May 2001

on april 27, 2001, the apex court gave the Bhure Lal Committee four weeks to decide on exactly which fuels could be categorised as 'clean'. They would be taking all types of fuels into consideration like compressed natural gas ( cng ), liquefied petroleum gas ( lng) , diesel and petrol. The issue came up in court in the context of the order passed on March 26, 2001, where the three-judge bench had announced that petrol with one per cent benzene would be considered as a clean fuel. According to the Delhi government counsel, Kapil Sibal, this does not make it mandatory for all the autos to convert to cng going by the order of July 28, 1998.

Meanwhile, both Sheila Dixit, Delhi's chief minister and Parvez Hashmi, transport minister, who so proudly announced that they would be willing to go to jail for the sake of the people, have apologised in an affidavit. They had made this statement while allowing private buses to ply on Delhi's roads in April 2001, even when they had not been issued proper permits on having booked cng buses. The court has put this on record and has said it will not advance with contempt proceedings against them.

Mukul Rohtagi, an additional solicitor general, who is now representing the Union government, pointed out that the apex court orders dated April 29, 1999 and May 13, 1999, allow the registration of diesel driven taxis if they are Euro ii compliant. He wanted to know if the transport department could go ahead with registration of diesel taxis if they were meeting Euro ii norms. The court advised the transport department to stop registering diesel taxis as it felt that the essence of the Bhure Lal committee recommendations are against diesel being used as fuel for public transport fleet, and also to wait for the committee on clean fuels to be formed. Incidentally, Kirit N Raval, an additional solicitor general, who had earlier withdrawn from representing the Delhi government, has done the same for the Union government as well.

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