The TrickyScribe: National Green Tribunal on Thursday directed German car manufacturer Volkswagen to deposit Rs 100 crore by 5 pm Friday in connection with an emissions case or face punitive action. The tribunal also warned Volkswagen that its India head may be arrested and all its properties seized in case it fails to pay.
The tribunal in November last had told Volkswagen to deposit Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board within a month for having allegedly flouted environmental norms by using a cheat device that lowered vehicle emissions only during tests. “Why have you not complied with our order when there is no stay,” a bench of National Green Tribunal Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice SP Wangdi said. “We will not give you any further time.”
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Earlier this week, a four-member committee, set up by the National Green Tribunal in November, penalized Volkswagen Rs 171.34 crore for contributing to air pollution in Delhi through excess nitrogen oxide emissions. The committee, in its report, said Volkswagen cars released an estimated 48.678 tonnes of nitrogen oxide in 2016 in the city. Nitrogen oxide is a pollutant that is known to cause heart and lung diseases.
“Estimated cost of heath damage due to additional NOx [nitrogen oxide] emissions from the Volkswagen group vehicles is approximately Rs 171.34 crore using a metro city i.e. Delhi as a base,” the report had said. “Further, the valuation is for Delhi city considering that the value of NOx is 435 tonnes is released in the city.”
The green panel calculated the amount of penalty on the basis of the 3.27 lakh Volkswagen cars in India that had the cheat device. The panel told the tribunal that automobiles are a major source of nitrogen oxide emissions and nitrogen dioxide is the most prevalent source form of nitrogen oxide. Prolonged exposure to elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide may cause asthma and respiratory infections.