India To Run On BS-VI Fuel, Starting April 2020
Starting April 1, 2020, Bharat Stage (BS)-VI fuel would be made available in several big cities of the country, in a move that is likely to reduce vehicular pollution by 80-90 per cent. The government has set aside Rs 60,000 crores for this purpose, environment minister Parkash Javadekar said, on October 8, 2019.
Delhi saw the launch of the cleaner fuel last year. According to media reports, all 397 petrol pumps in the national capital have been selling cleaner diesel and petrol since February.
Also, while the oil ministry had set 2020 as the deadline for the launch of BS-VI fuel, the Supreme Court on March 26 asked it to advance the dateline by one year in 13 metro cities. With this switch to BS-VI, India will join the league of the US, Japan and the European Union which follow Euro Stage-VI emission norms.
According to environmentalists, Euro-VI fuel could substantially reduce vehicular pollution levels in the national capital.
The Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) welcomed the move.
“This is the kind of proactive and responsive leadership we need to see in our government. This is also the kind of drastic measure that is required given the scale of the crisis. We cannot any more work with small and incremental steps to bring us the kind of air quality benefits that we need,” CSE Director-General Sunita Narain was quoted in the media as saying.
Delhi may be the biggest casualty of the air pollution, but India’s villages are not untouched either. A recent study conducted by experts from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and the Health Effects Institute suggests that over a million people died in 2015 due to air pollution and two-third of these people lived in rural India.
"Air pollution is a national, pan-India problem. It's not limited to urban centres and megacities, and it disproportionately affects rural Indians more than urban Indians," said Chandra Venkataraman, a professor at IIT-Bombay, in an interview with CNN.
On that account, it would only be better if more and more cities switched to clear fuel soon enough.
The likely impact
Comparatively clean fuels used today carry about 50 parts per million (PPM) of sulphur. BS-VI diesel, on the other hand, will carry only about 10 PPM sulphur, curbing emission to a great extent. However, using the cleaner fuel for cars that are equipped BS-IV fuel-rated engines would pose a challenge. Currently, no other vehicles in India may be technically ready to make the switch, except certain Germany-made cars and Bharat-Benz trucks.