The Supreme Court recently ruled in favour of ICEMA and TMA, exempting construction equipment and agriculture equipment from the BS-III vehicles ban.
A shock was in store for the tractor and construction vehicle industry, while the motor vehicle industry was told to be prepared to down the shutters on its BS-III vehicles. An estimated 25,000 tractors and over 1,600 units of construction equipment vehicles had not been registered by RTOs in many states, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Tamil Nadu since the ban came into force on April 1, 2017.
The Supreme Court order to ban the sales and registration of BS-III vehicles from April 1, 2017, was originally for the automobile industry, which was misinterpreted by most RTOs. 'This has impacted the registration of new construction equipment vehicles,' says Anand Sundaresan, President, Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers' Association (ICEMA).
ICEMA and the Tractor Manufacturers' Association (TMA) then sought the much-needed clarification on the ban on the registration of BS-III vehicles after March 31, 2017.
Companies were contemplating halting their production along with the inevitable financial loss. While the ICEMA team was actively pursuing solutions, CONSTRUCTION WORLD too stepped forward to rescue the industry. Sundaresan adds, 'Pratap Padode (Editor-in-Chief, CONSTRUCTION WORLD) was of great help. In fact, his help was one of the turning points in the case.
He connected with Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre of Science & Environment (CSE), and coordinated the appeal on our behalf, with her. We then met Narain, who was extremely helpful as well as the first one to stand for us in the Supreme Court.'
After hectic parleys with the CSE, an official clarification letter was obtained, which was then presented to the apex court where the matter was being heard. Former finance minister P Chidambaram was the counsel representing ICEMA and TMA. And Narain of CSE clarified for the benefit of the court why the order was not applicable to construction equipment and tractors, and the counsel produced the clarification letter. It is based on this representation and clarification that the Supreme Court issued a clarification directing the registering authorities to exempt construction vehicles and tractors from the BS-III ban. 'However,' adds Sundaresan, 'Unfortunately, we had to go through this pain and spend a huge amount of money, which was not necessary, to represent the matter to the Supreme Court and get the clarification. It was a nightmare because we were not able to register our equipment for almost a month.'
The Central Motor Vehicles Rules have separate and distinct rules for emissions from agricultural tractors, power tillers, combine harvesters and construction and earthmoving vehicles. All these come under Rule 115A, while other vehicles meant for transportation of goods and passengers come under Rule 115. Tractors follow the Bharat (Trem) Stage III A emission norms, while construction and earthmoving equipment follow Bharat (CEV) Stage III.
A true victory, this, for the construction equipment sector!
- SERAPHINA D'SOUZA