New Delhi: Cars are universally targeted for causing pollution as they represent “the well-off section of the society” and the environmentalist lobby would like production to be stopped or reduced without considering data that say these are not significant polluters in the capital, according to Maruti Suzuki India chairman R C Bhargava.
The auto industry leader also said the Supreme Court’s ban on diesel cars and SUVs of engines above 2,000 cc in the NCR is “totally arbitrary” as it does not address the issue of pollution by old vehicles.
Citing the findings of a study by IIT-Kanpur, he said cars contributed to only around 2 per cent of pollution in the capital.
“The cars, I think, universally are the target as they represent the well-off section of the society and despite facts and numbers which we give, people don’t look at those numbers,” Mr Bhargava told reporters here during the company’s earnings conference.
On the Supreme Court’s ban on big diesel cars and SUVs, he said: “Our view is that this ban is totally arbitrary.”
While new BS IV cars are banned, nothing has been done about the pre-BS 1 cars, which are even more polluting, he added.
Lakhs of old cars, which are not even BS I standard-compliant, two-wheelers and trucks pollute more than the new Euro IV-compliant diesel vehicles which have been banned by the Supreme Court, he added.
“There are 5.7 million two-wheelers, they cause three times more pollution than cars, trucks cause 4.5 times more pollution than cars but nobody talks about them,” Mr Bhargava said.
In Delhi there are 6 lakh diesel cars, one third of which are not even BS I-compliant. Pollution from these cars is 5.5 times more than the new car.
“You are banning the new 2-litre engine cars and not doing anything about these old cars,” he said.
Hitting out at the “environmental lobby”, Mr Bhargava said such groups have been against diesel cars for a long time.
“We have off course environmentalist lobby which would like our production to be stopped or reduced, despite all the data that points that cars in Delhi are not the significant polluters at all, they are very minor polluters as compared to other sources that are polluting in Delhi,” he added.
Mr Bhargava also said the auto industry was not in favour of an environment cess which has been considered by the apex court.
“As part of the automobile industry we feel that such a cess has already been imposed by the government in the Budget, it has already been done so the second cess on top of that the logic of that we are unable to support at all,” he said.
He, however, added, “At the moment we don’t know what the Supreme Court will do and what it has in mind, if that cess would be for cars above two litres or less than two litres or all diesel cars.”
Last year, the Supreme Court had banned registration of diesel-run SUVs and cars having engine capacity beyond 2,000 cc in Delhi and the NCR till March 31, as it unveiled a slew of measures to curb the alarming rise in pollution levels in the city.
On March 31 this year, the Supreme Court extended the ban till April 30.