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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today fined German automotive conglomerate, the Volkswagen Group Rs 500 crore for harming the environment. The NGT claims that Volkswagen made use of a cheat device to damage the environment and has asked the German carmaker to deposit the fine specified by the court within the next two months.
The Volkswagen Group, however, has decided to challenge the ruling of the National Green Tribunal in front of the nation's highest place of justice, the Supreme Court. In a statement released after the NGT ruling, a spokesperson for the Volkswagen India Group released a statement to the media, "The Volkswagen Group in India reiterates that all cars from the Group are compliant with the emission norms defined in India. The Group awaits the copy of the order of Honourable NGT. The Volkswagen Group will challenge the order of the Honourable NGT before the Honourable Supreme Court."
A National Green Tribunal-appointed committee had earlier recommended that Volkswagen be fined Rs 171.34 crores as a means of creating deterrence. The committee had recommended using the money towards improving the air quality levels in highly polluted areas around the country, especially the National Capital Territory which includes New Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon and other surrounding areas.
In its report to the tribunal, the committee stated, "Estimated cost of health damage due to additional NOx emissions from the Volkswagen group vehicles is approximately Rs 171.34 crore using a metro city i.e Delhi as a base. The value may be considered conservative due to lack of methodologies for calculating the overall impact of nitrogen oxide on the environment in India and hence only health damages are valued. Further, the valuation is for Delhi considering that the value of NOx is 435 tonnes released in the city. This is assumed because of lack of data on the geographical locations and plying regions of Volkswagen vehicles which have caused the damage and for all the years which have been considered for damage."
In December 2015, Volkswagen had recalled over 3.2 lakh vehicles across the country to fix the emission software it used in its vehicles. This was done after testing by the ARAI had revealed that the emissions in some cases were up to 2.6 times permitted under BS-IV emission norms. VW has already been fined Billions of Dollars by emission authorities worldwide after it was revealed that the carmaker was using emissions cheating software in its vehicles. Volkswagen has already paid a Rs 100 crore fine regarding the same issue