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Ban on diesel vehicles a transient phase: Jaitley

Playing down the ban on registration of large diesel vehicles in the national capital region, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said it is a ‘transient phase’ and Japanese auto giant Suzuki is unlikely to be impacted given the overall large market it has got in India.

Ban on diesel vehicles a transient phase: Jaitley
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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with Japan?s Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Yasuhisa Shiozaki

Tokyo

Arun Jaitley, who arrived here on Sunday on a six-day trip to Japan to meet investors and policymakers, is scheduled to meet Suzuki Motor Chairman Osamu Suzuki on Wednesday. 

“I think the Indian auto sector is extremely comfortably placed. This is all just a transient phase and I don’t think that with the large market that Suzuki has, it is in any way likely to be adversely affected,” he said. He was asked about his meeting with Suzuki amid policy uncertainly in India after the ban on diesel vehicles of over 2,000 cc in the national capital region of Delhi and Kerala to curb pollution. 

The ban on sale of large diesel cars and sport utility vehicles with engines of two litres or more was first imposed in December and was recently extended to Kerala. The one in Kerala, however, has been temporarily stayed by the state high court. 

It has led to some automakers reworking their plans and introducing models with petrol options or smaller diesel engines. 

Maruti Suzuki India Chairman RC Bhargava had last month termed the ban as “totally arbitrary”. Stating that cars are universally targeted for causing pollution as they represent ‘the well-off section of society,’ he had reasoned that cars contributed to only around 2 per cent of pollution in the capital. Also, ‘nothing has been done about polluting old cars.’ Maruti Suzuki, the country’s leading automaker, has about 60 per cent of market share for petrol vehicles while for the diesel segment, the share stands at 28 per cent. 

Don’t extend diesel vehicle ban: Centre to NGT

The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises on Monday moved the National Green Tribunal seeking directions not to extend to other cities the Supreme Court mandated ban on registration of vehicles beyond 2,000 cc on the ground that it would have an adverse effect on the momentum of growth of the automobile industry. The ministry has also requested the green panel not to apply any restrictions on ‘sale and registration’ of new vehicles in any city, which are complying with the statutory emission norms irrespective of fuel used. 

The Supreme Court had passed an order on December 16, 2015 banning registration of SUV and private cars of the capacity of 2,000 cc and above using diesel as fuel in the NCR up to March 32, 2016. Subsequently the Supreme Court had extended the ban up to April 30, 2016 and on April 30, 2016 the Supreme Court maintained the status quo till the matter is taken up by it post vacation. 

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