On March 31, SIAM, the association representing India’s automakers, shot off a letter loaded with woes to the Prime Minister. How could the Supreme Court order them not to sell and register BS-III vehicles (Bharat Stage is the Indian emissions standard) in the new fiscal year, they bemoaned? They also pointed to their eagerness to move from BS-IV to BS-VI in three years — a switch that no country in the world has accomplished. Countries in Europe and the US, said the letter, have taken up to 10 years for the same change. There is a need to set up a national regulatory body which would clearly layout a roadmap for all policy and regulatory changes. The policy should then be framed in a manner that no one can later overrule it, as has become the practice lately. Automakers point out whenever there is a transitioning of advanced emission norms anywhere in the world the last date of retiring – 31 March, 2017 in this case — is on manufacturing; vehicle makers are allowed to sell the stock in the following year. The SC has not given the industry this leeway, which by one estimate will call for liquidation of some 7 lakh units of two wheelers, three wheelers, trucks and passenger vehicles.
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