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HC order on stricter emission norms catches Kolkata off guard

By Satarupa Joardar
Published: Friday 15 August 2003

on march 28, 2003, the Calcutta High Court passed an order which, if implemented, would make Kolkata the country's only city with 100 per cent Bharat Stage-ii compliance (equivalent to Euro-ii). The court ruled: "All vehicles, be it private or commercial, operating in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (kma) have to comply with Bharat Stage- ii auto emission norms by April 2004." At present only new vehicles are required to meet Euro- ii standards.

Not surprisingly, state transport minister Subhas Chakraborty has now decided to seek more time to fall in line. "It is humanly impossible to change the engines of 15 lakh vehicles in such a short span. It would also cost about Rs 25,000 crore," claimed Chakraborty. In fact, broaching the issue at a conference in Agra (Uttar Pradesh), he averred: "The court should intervene only if the motor vehicles act is violated." Transporters too will move court to get the time-schedule extended.

The April 2004 deadline may be missed because modifying the vehicles' engines would be a prohibitive affair and fitting emission-control devices will at best be a temporary solution.

With inputs from Chirag Shah in Delhi

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