Rajiv Bajaj Blasts Auto Cos on Emission Norms
Companies had enough time to clear inventory of old vehicles, says Bajaj Auto managing director
Mumbai | Delhi: Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, has fired a fresh salvo against industry peers who are lobbying for a grace period in the implementation of new fuel emission norms till old stocks are exhausted.
He termed it as “downright cheating,” and said automobile companies had enough time to clear inventory. The government’s cut-off date of April1, was for sales and registration of Bharat Stage IV vehicles and not intended just for production of BS-IV vehicles, which the rest of the industry, would like to interpret, in their favour, according to Bajaj.
“Old habits die hard. Our industry has been conditioned to be pushed, kicking and screaming into adhering to new norms,” Bajaj rued. He has argued that the government has to give a strong message by not giving any amnesty and, if at all any short-term amnesty is giv- en, it should be accompanied with a “sizeable financial penalty.”
BS-IV refers to emission standards set by the government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines. Bajaj said the two-wheeler maker feels wronged as it made the changeover taking the deadline seriously and is ready with BS-IV compliant vehicles.
“We are already selling BS-IV vehicles. Those who have chosen to be complacent will sell their products which are polluting at lower prices. This is not fair,” he said.
Obviously, Bajaj is in a minority among his peer group. Vishnu Mathur, director general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), strongly disagrees with the view. “Whenever there has been a change in emission norms, it has always been on the basis of date of manufacture. Even this time, the notification is very clear that the pan-India implementation of BS-IV emission norms from April 1, 2017, will be as per the date of manufacture of vehicles and not as per the date of sale or registration.” SIAM may write to the government on this issue and Bajaj Auto will ask the industry body to exclude the company from among the signatories to the letter.
With Bajaj factories producing BS-IV vehicles, which will cost about ₹ 1,000 to ₹ 7,000 more, there is a fear that his competitors models, which are of BS-III vintage, may be cheaper in the market place. “We cannot always be a mute spectator,” Bajaj added.
According to him, this time the government had set two deadlines. From April 1, 2016, new products had to be BSIV compliant. The second deadline, of April 1, 2017, was only for old models. So a year was good enough to be ready.
“The industry is used to take the government for granted and the government is often buckling under pressure,” he said.