14 December, New Delhi
National Green Tribunal (NGT) Monday sent a notice to central government and German automobile firm Volkswagen (VW) on a plea seeking a ban on manufacture and sale of its vehicles in the country for allegedly flouting emission norms.
The notice sent to the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board, Volkswagen group and Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) is to be replied by December 23.
The directions came from a bench headed by Chairperson Justice Swatenter Kumar while hearing a plea by one Satvinderjeet Sodhi, a resident of Delhi, who had sought directions to disallow manufacturing, assembly and sale of vehicles manufactured by VW and its group companies until it is established that they are as per the prescribed norms in India.
Satvinderjeet had referred to Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)s recent report and alleged that Volkswagen and its group companies in India were polluting the environment in blatant disregard to regulations by selling vehicles which produce nitrogen oxide nine times higher than prescribed limit.
Vehicles manufactured and sold by Volkswagen have been polluting the environment in blatant and utter disregard to government regulations thereby endangering the lives of millions of people who are being forced to inhale poisonous fumes and suffer extreme misery on account of ill health, the plea alleged.
Earlier on November 4, National automobile testing agency, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), found pollution levels to be more than 9 times the permissible levels in on-road vehicles of 3 Volkswagen models compared to laboratory measurements. These vehicles include the Volkswagen Jetta, Audi A4 and Volkswagen Vento.Moreover, NGT wants the government to conduct tests across all car manufacturers in the country for violation of emission norms.
The notice comes after the emissions scandal that broke out in the US on September 18, where it was reported that the parent company, Volkswagen AG, violated emissions norms by fitting a ‘cheating software’ to pass the emissions test in the country.Volkswagen have admitted to have fitted the so called ‘cheat device’ in around 1.8 million Volkswagen cars.
The emissions scandal also includes Audi, Skoda and Seat cars in Europe.Volkswagen AG said the scandal could cost the company more than 18 billion dollar.