Pedestrians are silhouetted as traffic moves along a road shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Government Advances BS-VI Fuel Norms By Two Years In Delhi 

India has decided to roll out stricter auto fuel standards two years earlier by April in New Delhi to curb pollution as the region stays engulfed in toxic smog.

The Bharat Stage-VI grade auto fuel norms will be implemented by April next year instead of April 2020, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said in a statement today. The ministry took the decision in consultation with state-run oil marketing companies taking into account the severe pollution levels in Delhi, it said.

The oil firms have been asked to examine the possibility of introducing BS-VI auto fuels in the entire National Capital Region, which includes Gurugram and Noida, by April 2019.

Automakers are required to be ready with BS-VI-compliant vehicles only by April 1, 2020, said RC Bhargava, chairman at Maruti Suzuki Ltd., India’s largest passenger vehicle maker. The rollout will have to be done in a phased manner, he said.

Pollution crossed hazardous levels in Delhi with the air quality index staying in the “severe” category around 500. Levels rose after stubble burning by farmers in the neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, adding to dust particles from construction and auto emissions.

The move is an effort to reduce vehicular emissions and improve fuel efficiency in the national capital, the oil ministry said.

Auto industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures said making BS-VI fuel available in Delhi won’t impact automakers negatively. “Fuel has always been made available 2-3 years before moving to new emission norms, it is the global practice,” the industry body said.

Honda Cars, however, said the company cannot be ready with BS-VI compliant vehicles by April 1. It is working on schedule as per govt mandate to have BS-VI vehicles ready by 2020, Senior Vice-President Jnaneswar Sen told BloombergQuint.

Watch this conversation with RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti and T Jayaraman, professor at School of Habitat Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences on how the transition to BS-VI norms will help tackle pollution levels in the national capital.