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War of words over diesel cars in NCR

The war of words over emissions from diesel cars and trucks in the National Capital Region (NCR) intensified on Monday, with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), slamming the comments of the chief of Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR).

Ralph Speth, CEO, JLR, which is owned by Tata Motors, told an agency on Sunday that the latest EU VI regulation has got technical features, “which can clean the air in Delhi. These vehicles drive like a hoover…the air they suck in is far dirtier than the air which comes out of it,” Speth was quoted in a report.

Noting that he was an engineer, he said the Supreme Court order imposing a temporary ban on the sale of luxury diesel cars in the NCR had nothing to do with technology.

Referring to Speth’s comments that JLR was producing Euro VI cars without explaining how they worked in India, as the fuel here is high in sulphur (which would have destroyed the emissions control systems), Anumita Roy Chowdhury, CSE’s executive director, said: “This is a most irresponsible statement to make at a time when dieselisation in India is contributing towards rising particulate and nitrogen oxides and ozone pollution, and also to the risk of growing lung cancer incidence in cities.”

Globally diesel cars have come under scrutiny and action for aggravating the problem of nitrogen oxide pollution and high and variable emissions from diesel cars on road, she added.

The CSE executive said the Jaguar statement followed one by Mercedes-Benz, which had made similar claims about the emissions from their cars being clean. The Supreme Court had then asked the German automaker whether its cars emitted oxygen, recalled Chowdhury.