Pawan Goenka, Executive Director, Mahindra & Mahindra said, the company along with co-petitioners Toyota and Mercedes will urge the Supreme Court on Tuesday to reconsider its decision on diesel car ban after carefully running through all the published facts on contribution of automobiles in causing pollution.
Pawan Goenka, Executive Director, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) said, the company along with co-petitioners Toyota and Mercedes will urge the Supreme Court on Tuesday to reconsider its decision on diesel car ban in the national capital region (NCR) after carefully running through all the published facts on contribution of automobiles in causing pollution.
Nearly three weeks after the SC banned the sale of 2000+ cc diesel cars in the NCR, the three automobile manufacturers worst hit by the decision filed a petition today, challenging the ban.
“I am not losing sleep over the diesel car ban in NCR. But, we believe the interim order was passed based on a limited argument”, Goenka said.
Goenka highlighted that the automobile industry understands the criticality of the matter and accordingly, has never shied away from upgrading technology in line with changing emission norms.
“Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV) emission norms should have been implemented throughout the country by now. In fact, it’s time to start working towards BS-V and BS-VI”, Goenka said, adding, M&M has also started working on gasoline products and plans to launch all future models in the petrol version as well.
Below is the transcript of Pawan Goenka's interview with CNBC-TV18s Ronojoy Banerjee.
Q: One would say that the New Year is starting with some, it is not the way you would have hoped the New Year would start?
A: We have learnt to take everything in the stride. It is the not the first time that there is a regulation or a Supreme Court order that is adverse for Mahindra. We have risen above it and we will do it again, we will find a solution, I am not going to lose sleep over it.
Q: You have today itself along with Toyota, Mercedes Benz, Tata Motors, you have come together and you have filed a plea in the Supreme Court, what is your concern? You are trying to bring to light the fact that by doing this, pollution, which is the main reason for banning diesel vehicles will not be - that motive, that goal will not be achieved?
A: We will present our arguments tomorrow in the court. We are going to talk about facts as we see it based on published data. As I have said in the past the pollution level in Delhi is an alarming situation, clearly something has to be done and this will not happen without pain. Everybody will have to sustain some pain in doing so. All that we want to make sure is that the honourable Supreme Court has all the facts in front of them and before they go beyond the interim order and decide what is the longer term solution for the air quality in Delhi.
Q: So, you are keeping your fingers crossed in terms that you are hopeful that whatever decision that the court arrives at will take into account the entire factsheet?
A: I am sure the courts would. That interim order was done based on a fairly limited argument by a couple of counsels including SIAM, but now there will be a much wider presentation by many auto companies and by SIAM and therefore the courts will take all the facts into consideration before deciding on what next.
Q: So, as a manufacturer what does it do in terms of your planning, investment portfolio, how concerned are you in terms of how one order can sort of do away with the previous orders that there may have been?
A: In 1999 if you were to hear the transcript of what got presented to the Supreme Court arguments made it is almost like a replay. The same things were said in 1999, the same things are being said in 2015 or 2016 and the Supreme Court decision at that time was to say that don't differentiate between fuel. Every fuel has to live up to an emission standard and Supreme Court at that time directed that the BS-II emission norms should come in very rapidly within one year from the date into Delhi and that obviously helped to speed up the emission norms coming into India and we have gone on that pace quite well, from BS-II to BS-III to BS-IV. Unfortunately things got stuck in BS-IV and today we should have been in a situation where BS-IV would have been implemented throughout the country by 2014 and we should be talking about launching BS-V next year or the year after. Since the fuel was not available that did not happen.
What we have to do is look at our future investments in light of what is the current situation that is there in the country. Diesel vehicles right now are being looked at unfortunately I would say as the culprit for everything that is wrong. I hope that we would be able to put forth the arguments. Yes there is a problem, of course diesel contributes to it but that is not the only contributor. It is clearly coming out from IIT Kanpur report also that only 20 percent of the total PM2.5 is out of all kinds of vehicles. Out of that only about 2-3 percent is out of diesel passenger cars. Out of that only 0.5 percent is out of newer vehicles. Therefore all this we are going to plead.
Q: What is the alternative as far as auto industry? It is a very challenging phase for the auto industry, it is being vilified, being seeing almost as a villain by many of the NGOs. You would have seen some of the arguments saying it is the auto industry that is responsible for the delay in the implementation of the BS-IV and BS-V norms which we know it is because of the availability of fuel. What can the auto industry do, what is your solution then to this problem?
A: Like you have said it is very convenient to put all the responsibility on the auto industry. I personally consider and of course I am biased but the facts will speak for themselves. Auto industry has never shied away from bringing in new technology, never shied away from trying to do whatever we need to do and sometimes even unreasonable time lines and done it. At no point of time have we not followed or tried to shy away from regulation.
In 1999, if you go back to the orders that were put forth by Supreme Court, the only that has been complied with is the emission norms of auto industry. There were lot of other things that were there in that order, those have not happened. If those had happened we would not have a pollution case today in front of Supreme Court, if all of those things had been followed.
Therefore coming back to auto industry and saying take out this 20 percent is not going to solve the problem. If 20 percent becomes 19, 18, 17 percent so what? There is still 80 percent sitting outside the auto industry and unless we are able to reduce the 80 percent to 70, 60, 50 percent the problem will remain.
Q: Auto industry you fear has become the punching bag for NGOs?
A: There is a hierarchy. First of all there is auto industry becoming the villain and second within auto industry diesel vehicles becoming villain and within diesel vehicles the larger cc diesel engines are the villains. All I am saying is look at the data. Nothing that Pawan Goenka is saying or Mahindra is saying or industry is saying, just look at the data. Data is done by independent sources and decide based on the data what is right.
We have to solve the air quality problem in Delhi, there is no shying from that, we have to solve the problem. Let us put our money where it will have the maximum impact in terms of reducing pollution. If it is banning diesel vehicles so be it but let it be based on data.
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