Diesel worries

Any hike in diesel prices could harm the farming and fishing communities.

The National Green Tribunal’s directive to the Delhi government to not register any diesel vehicles till January 6, or renew registrations of diesel vehicles over 10 years old, coupled with its advisory to the Centre and state governments to not buy new diesel vehicles is an interesting experiment that could supplement the Delhi government’s efforts to reduce the city’s pollution.

This will be keenly watched in other states, and according to reports Karnataka and Maharashtra have already taken note of the NGT directive. In any case, the production of diesel cars had been coming down as there is not much difference now in petrol and diesel prices.

Besides, major car manufacturers have a hybrid manufacturing process that can make both diesel and petrol engines given that the government doesn’t have a stable long-term policy on the matter. Three years ago the government deregulated petrol prices, which had given a boost to diesel cars, which cornered a 75 per cent share of the market in some cases. Today it seems petrol-driven vehicles account for 55 per cent of car production, and the rest is diesel.

The petrol-diesel syndrome is rather tricky, and a serious study is needed to arrive at the right balance. It should not be forgotten that the agriculture sector is a major consumer of diesel for tractors and pumps, so any hike in diesel prices could harm the farming and fishing communities, who use diesel for their engines. The NGT directive, it is hoped, could be an occasion to do just this.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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