NGT fines Volkswagen Rs 500 cr for damaging environment

Cheat device in multinational's diesel engines meant more nitrogen oxide emission than claimed

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 07 March 2019
Photo: Greencarreports

Volkswagen (VW) India has been fined Rs 500 crore by the National Green Tribunal, according to media reports. The environmental tribunal found that a “cheat device” in the company’s diesel cars damaged the environment.

A team of representatives from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Union heavy industries minister, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, formed by the NGT, earlier recommended a Rs 171.34 crore fine.

NGT Chairperson Justice AK Goel February 7, 2019 asked the company to deposit the amount within two months. It had been pulled in January up for not depositing a provisional Rs 100 crore with the CPCB, as the NGT directed in November.

The CPCB can use the fine amount to improve air quality of the National Capital Region and other highly polluted areas, the NGT said.

This is arguably one of the biggest penal action for emission fraud in India. The multinational company, which owns marquees like Audi, Skoda, etc, has earlier been caught cheating in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. International Council for Clean Transportation found VW diesel engines emitting more nitrogen oxide than lab tests.

This paved way for action against the company in the US and revealed that several diesel brands in Europe were cheating similarly.

In India, tests by the (ARAI) reportedly revealed five to nine-times higher real-world emissions. The company recalled about 2.75 lakh vehicles for software update and repair, according to an official submission to the Lok Sabha in April 2017.

The petition at the NGT was filed by Saloni Ailawadi, reportedly a Delhi-based teacher, and a few others who sought a ban on the brand’s cars.

“Sustainable development is the main guiding factor... We are unable to accept the manufacturer's objections to the report," the concerned NGT Bench said. The company had argued that the higher emission levels were found during ‘on-road testings’, for which there are no guidelines.

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