Crores spent on improving diesel going waste, says an expert

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New Delhi, May 29 (UNI) Crores of rupees spent on fuel improvement by oil companies were going waste in terms of reducing air pollution because of the fact that the fuel was being used by old and poorly-maintained vehicles, says an expert.

Executive Director Research&Design of the Indian Oil Corporation R K Malhotra feels that the government should concentrate more on introducing diesel vehicles of latest technologies and retrofitting the old ones than on going for CNG.

The emission by a CNG vehicle is low in particulate matter but is more harmful in terms of gaseous matter like carbon monoxide, said Mr Malhotra, who had come here to take part in a meeting of the Experts Committee on Environmental Standards called by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

It is reported that a large number of CNG buses in Delhi were plying without any catalytic converters, whose function is to reduce gaseous pollution. The catalyic converters are removed by CNG bus operators because without this device they can draw more power from the fuel.

Talking to UNI, Mr Malhotra said with sharp improvement in the diesel quality, it would be wise for the government to put in place strict norms and inspection regime for not allowing old and ill-maintained vehicles to ply.

The oil companies were spending a massive amount on developing low sulphur diesel, but its benefit in terms of reducing air pollution was going waste because of the technologically inefficient and poorly-maintained vehicles, Mr Malhotra said, adding that there was also no proper compensation to oil companies for producing the improved fuel.

He said when CNG vehicles had been introduced in Delhi, the quantiy of sulphur in diesel was 1,000 ppm, but now the vehicles were running on diesel having only 350 ppm sulpher.

Mr Malhotra said by 2010, the quantity of sulphur in the diesel would be reduced to 50 ppm, a standard that Europe had already adopted way back in 2005.

So, to make use of the improved diesel, the vehicles plying on the road should be technologically efficient, and the old ones should be retrofitted.

He also stressed the need of undertaking deeper studies for determining the source causing greatest harm to air quality.

''Without exact pollution source apportionment, no fuel policy would be successful as far as reduction of pollution was concerned,'' Mr Malhotra said.

In this connection, he said his department had done a study on the prime source of air pollution and handed it over to the Central Pollution Control Board for further analysis.


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