The central government has often been at gunpoint of environmentalists and NGOs for imposing dual auto fuel policy for Indian cities as even now the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been meting out step-motherly treatment to Indore over its request for implementing Bharat Stage (BS) - IV (equivalent to Euro IV specifications) emission norms.
In its letter dated November 23, 2013, (a copy of which is in dna’s possession) the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) had requested the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) and the Ministry of Surface Transport (MST) to implement BS- IV emission norms in Indore but the board has not yet received any response from the center to this effect.
“We have requested the ministry to implement BS- IV standard in Indore in order to reduce the vehicular pollution. We are still waiting for the ministry’s response,” MPPCB Indore regional officer A A Mishra told dna.
The BS- IV emission norms provide for better quality diesel and petrol that emit lesser amount of sulphur, benzene and NOX that are strong air pollutants.
At present, the auto fuel policy approves only 13 cities of India to have upgraded BS- IV petrol and diesel while in rest of the country BS- III petrol and diesel have been made available by the ministry.
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) executive director (research & advocacy) Anumita Roy Chowdhury said, “It is not tolerable if Indore is not getting BS- IV which is already seven years behind Europe.”
“It is absolutely wrong for the government to create two categories of citizens in which one who gets better fuel than the other,” she added.
Chowdhury said that the government must create a uniform standard of fuel policy for all cities and prescribe a roadmap to implement BS- V and VI norms.
MPPCB’s request came at the backdrop of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) imposing a moratorium on construction and development projects in Indore and declaring the city as one of the 8 critically polluted areas of India on account of its high Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) score.
The CPCB has instructed Indore as well as other clusters identified as critically polluted to prepare time-bound action plant to mitigate pollution and thus the MPPCB has requested the ministry to implement BS- IV standards in the city.
Mishra said that Indore presently has a combination of BS- III, CNG and gas cylinders operated vehicles plying on roads.
The MPPCB, in 2010, had written the first letter to its central counterpart seeking to implement BS- IV norms in Indore, but the application was pending before the ministry ever since, sources said.