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Diesel ban:Geete asks auto cos not to take ‘panga’ with courts

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New Delhi, Aug 30 (PTI) Union Minister Anant Geete todaysaid the auto industry has the government’s backing on theissue of high-capacity diesel cars, but cautioned it againsttaking "panga" (messing) with courts that had banned suchvehicles. The remarks followed the comments made by SIAM PresidentVinod Dasari, who said the industry lost Rs 4,000 crore ineight months following the ban in Delhi-NCR, which was liftedby the Supreme Court earlier this month. "Vinod Dasari… expressed unhappiness at the positionadopted by the court on pollution. I would like to tell VinodDasari, don’t take panga with courts. There is no need for youto take this panga," Geete said while addressing a conferencehere. Speaking at the 58th annual session of the AutomotiveComponent Manufacturers Association (ACMA) earlier today,Dasari had said it was "improper information" to the courtscoupled with media hype that led to the ban on the dieselvehicles. "Led by media hype, provided with improper information,the courts decided to ban those vehicles which actually meetthe standards set by the government. It is for the first timethat when you meet the law, you actually get penalised. Theauto industry has lost Rs 4,000 crore in the last eightmonths," Dasari said. He is of the view that everyone wants to regulate the autoindustry without looking at the real cause of pollution. Dasari, who is also MD of Ashok Leyland, added: "I feeleveryone wants to regulate the auto industry. Let’s take theDelhi example. Every winter when there is fog, there is a lotof media hype, lots of NGOs get involved. They blame oneindustry that everyone wants to blame — auto industry." The minister, however, sought to calm the nerves of automanufacturers, saying the government is with them. "Perhaps for the first time…, four ministries includingthe department of heavy industry, road transport, forests andenvironment and petroleum & natural gas, had come together andwere discussing the issue of pollution with the court in onevoice," Geete, who holds the portfolio of heavy industries,added. The Supreme Court has now allowed registration of dieselvehicles of 2,000 cc and above with 1 per cent environmentcess. But Dasari doubts if the move will help in curbing thepollution level in the capital. "After all of this, what happened there is environmentalcess of 1 per cent for vehicles that are larger than 2,000 cc.Please tell me, people who buy such vehicles, are they goingto stop buying these due to this 1 per cent cess. Is thatgoing to have an impact on Delhi pollution?" Dasari asked. He regretted that the industry is being singled outwhenever there is congestion, pollution or an accident. Dasari went further, saying less than 20 per centpollution comes from the auto industry. He added that theindustry has several times asked the government to ban oldvehicles if it wants to reduce pollution. "Ban vehicles that cause pollution," Dasari said. PTI RSNMSSARD

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