Following a call to action by the NGT which asked Volkswagen to deposit a cautionary sum of Rs 100 crore, while an NGT appointed a committee of experts decided the quantum that they should be fined. However, while there was no official confirmation as to whether Volkswagen paid the suggested cautionary sum, a four-member committee appointed by the NGT has recommended a Rs 171.34 crore fine on the German auto company, on account of damaging the health of Indian road-users and for causing air-pollution in Delhi because of excess nitrogen oxide emission.
According to the committee’s estimates, Volkswagen released approximately 48.678 tonnes of Nitrogen Oxide in the national capital. They further assimilated that the health damages caused by the noxious gas produced by vehicles to be set at Rs 171.34 crore approximately. According to the council, the value is actually quite conservative considering that there’s a lack of methodologies for calculating the overall impact of nitrogen oxide on the environment in India and hence only health damages are valued.
"The total health damage due to air pollution in the city is around Rs 157.80 crore. Further, if this cost was to be charged bin 2018, average inflation of 4.2 per cent is to be applied for two years (after 2016), which comes out to be Rs 171.34 crore," the committee said in its report.
The panel was formed on November 16th last year and asked to estimate the extent of damage caused by Volkswagen vehicles. The four-member panel comprised ARAI director Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Dr Nitin Labhsetwar, who is chief scientist of CSIR-NEERI, Ramakant Singh director, Ministry of Heavy Industries and Prashant Gargava, member secretary of CPCB.
The NGTs fine will be brought up for hearing on the 17th of January 2019, before bench led by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel. The green panel had earlier said the use of 'cheat device' by Volkswagen in diesel cars in India leads to an inference of environmental damage and asked the German car maker to deposit an interim amount of Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board.