The National Green Tribunal on Thursday fined German car manufacturer Volkswagen Rs 500 crore in connection with an emissions case, PTI reported. The tribunal directed the company to deposit the amount within two months.
In November, the tribunal 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. Later, a four-member committee set up by the tribunal penalised Volkswagen Rs 171.34 crore for contributing to air pollution in Delhi through excess nitrogen oxide emissions.
The committee, in its report, had said Volkswagen cars released an estimated 48.678 tonnes of nitrogen oxide in 2016 in Delhi. Nitrogen oxide is a pollutant that is known to cause heart and lung diseases.
The panel had 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.
On Thursday, the National Green Tribunal raised the compensation amount as a means of “creating deterrence”. It rejected Volkswagen’s objections to the report, and said sustainable development was the “main guiding factor”.
The tribunal said the Central Pollution Control Board may consider using the penalty towards improving air quality in the National Capital Region and other highly polluted areas.