The two days that blew the green’s cover to smithereens!


SO WE KNEW THAT DELHI IS ONE OF THE MOST pol­luted, if not the most pol­luted, city in the world and that is why the greens ham­mered the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try in the coun­try when it should have been the pow­ers that be that should have faced their ire. So what­ever hap­pened about a year ago lead­ing to im­me­di­ate and in­stan­ta­neous adop­tion of Euro IV or Bharat Stage IV emis­sion leg­is­la­tion as of April 1, 2018 is a well known in­flec­tion point in the his­tory of In­dian air qual­ity and of course au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. What ev­ery­one failed to ap­pre­ci­ate and speak up about was the fact that lim­ited BS IV adop­tion na­tion­wide was caused by fail­ure of the gov­ern­ment to de­liver BS IV com­pat­i­ble fuel to all cor­ners of the coun­try. Frankly, BS IV should have been in force about four years ear­lier!.

His­tory re­peated it­self about mid­way in Novem­ber 2017 when all out of nowhere Delhi got en­gulfed in killer smog and one could see it all com­ing. And not all of it had to do with au­to­mo­tive pol­lu­tants but sud­denly the tunes and the mu­sic and the lyrics of the song changed and again a hap­less if not to say spine­less lead­er­ship of the au­to­mo­tive world kept quiet when they shouldn’t have! The smog caused by Di­wali fire­crack­ers, crop waste be­ing burnt in the Pun­jab and Haryana plus fierce desert sand­storms blow­ing in the di­rec­tion of the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion sud­denly showed up the greens and their lot the one dis­tinct fact that all pollution devils aren’t the out­come of au­to­mo­tive us­age, plain and sim­ple!

How­ever, this fact is well known and sci­en­tif­i­cally re­searched but what has the au­to­mo­tive community done? Not a squeak out of this col­lec­tive lot who are out to pur­sue in­di­vid­ual lob­by­ing with the power centres and not speak up to­gether when the sit­u­a­tion called for that. Bar­ring a very pas­sion­ate few (you could count them on the fin­gers of one hand and yet have three fin­gers up for grabs – yes that’s how dis­mal was the at­tempt!) who spoke up.

I was amazed that no one else was vo­cal about this men­ace – not of pollution alone but of beat­ing the in­dus­try black and blue for ills not of its mak­ing or do­ing! This was the chance to re­mind the greens of how much the au­to­mo­tive world has done to ar­rest pollution, some­thing that hasn’t been matched even for a frac­tion by the rest. Yet it is the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try and users who are al­ways painted black!

It was also the time to re­mind the con­cerned min­is­ters to try and “band ba­jao” the real cul­prits with the same zeal and fe­roc­ity with which they have treated a sec­tor that con­trib­utes to the coun­try’s GDP in dou­ble dig­its and also de­liv­ers liveli­hood to mil­lions. In­stead of do­ing this, the pow­ers that be in­dulged in even more ridicu­lous pol­ish­ing of their own vul­ner­a­ble ve­neer – a knee jerk move to all of a sud­den fast for­ward adop­tion of BS VI fuel to the Delhi NCR from April 1, 2018 thus leapfrog­ging the man­date for BS VI by two whole years and that too in a matter of four months and some days!

Guys the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor is a long lead in­dus­try and has been go­ing about do­ing the best as per the reg­u­la­tions framed along with the qual­ity of fuel promised to them. The present min­is­ter of sur­face trans­port and heavy in­dus­try is a well mean­ing sort but he needs to play his mar­tial threats to oth­ers who are re­spon­si­ble for well over 85 per cent of the pollution and not the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try which if go­ing by the Kan­pur IIT study ac­counted for just about 11 per cent of to­tal pollution.

Yet the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is the soft­est tar­get and the eas­i­est one to crush all so that the politi­cos come out smelling of roses at some quick fire de­ci­sions taken in the name of good gov­er­nance. What truly took the cake though was the spine­less ap­proach of our in­dus­try with the in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion SIAM wel­com­ing the gov­ern­ment’s move to make BS VI com­pat­i­ble fuel avail­able! Some­how this lost them not just the moral high ground to in­dulge in a proper di­a­logue with the gov­ern­ment but also made it ap­pear in the state it re­ally finds it­self in: brow­beaten!

P.S.: I wel­come Piyush Goyal’s state­ment of phas­ing out diesel lo­co­mo­tives from the In­dian Rail­ways within the next three years. I do hope that we first have sus­tained and seam­less flow of elec­tri­cal en­ergy for house­hold, com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial uses be­fore we get to this form of en­ergy for trans­porta­tion pur­poses. Also while laud­ing the gov­ern­ment’s in­tent to go all-elec­tric, let me cau­tion them about tak­ing the ter­mi­nol­ogy too se­ri­ously. The world and its granny is speak­ing about elec­tri­fied cars and not elec­tric cars over the next decade to 15 years and the quicker we use this ap­proach the bet­ter other­wise are we go­ing to sub­scribe to dirty elec­tric­ity by just shift­ing pollution from ur­ban to ru­ral? Think, guys think and then come up with an­swers rather than wdik­tats! ⌧

The au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is the soft­est tar­get and the eas­i­est one to crush all so that the politi­cos come out smelling of


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