Companies & Sectors
All diesel vehicles to be checked for emissions: Minister
The central government on Wednesday said that it will carry out extensive checks on all diesel passenger vehicles in the country within the next six months to ascertain if any violations of emission norms have taken place.
 
The decision to go in for a massive drive to check all the diesel passenger vehicles across the country came a day after Volkswagen Group India admitted to have violated emission norms.
 
The company also announced one of the largest voluntary recalls of diesel passenger vehicles. 
 
Citing the emission norms violation as a "well-thought-out crime", Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete said the government will ask the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) to check out all the diesel passenger vehicles across the country within the next six months.
 
"Over the next six months, we will carry out checks on emission levels of all diesel passenger vehicles in India," Geete said here.
 
On Tuesday, Volkswagen Group India announced a voluntary recall for updating all cars fitted with the EA 189 engines in the Indian market. Till November end, approximately 323,700 cars of Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi in India were equipped with EA 189 diesel engines.
 
The company had presented its observations, findings and outlined possible solutions on the EA 189 diesel engines to the heavy industries ministry and ARAI. 
 
"The recall will encompass cars from the Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda model range which carry the software that requires to be updated," the company was quoted as saying in a statement.
 
"The Volkswagen Group India will first present the technical released solution to the ministry of heavy industries and ARAI. Once approved from the competent authorities, the respective brands of the Volkswagen Group in India will carry out necessary actions in a step-wise manner."
 
According to the company, existing installed software does not affects the handling, technical safety or roadworthiness of the cars. 
 
As per the company records from 2008 till end of November 2015, approximately 198,500 cars from Volkswagen, 88,700 cars from Škoda and 36,500 cars from Audi across various models sold in India have been equipped with the EA 189 which includes 1.2-litre, 1.5-litre, 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engines. 
 
"All the owners of vehicles with EA 189 engines will be informed by Volkswagen Group India through the respective brands about the technical measures that will be implemented in their cars. All necessary technical measures will be implemented in the vehicles at no cost to the customers," the statement said. 
 
"Volkswagen Group India remains fully committed to the Indian market and will not deviate from its future planned investments, product plans and launches. All brands of Volkswagen Group in India will work strongly towards regaining the customer confidence and trust."
 
The automobile manufacturer was served a notice by the government last month over the alleged charges of manipulating emission norms in India, as it has done in the US.
 
The company had to respond to the notice issued by the ARAI by the end of November. The ARAI has been authorised by the central government to conduct an investigation into the matter. 
 
The ARAI is a research association formed between the automotive industry and the ministry of heavy industries.
 
Subsequently, a high-level team headed by the top brass of the Pune-based ARAI submitted its preliminary findings to the government on September 30.
 
The investigation in India was started after the automobile manufacturer was caught fudging emission data of its diesel powered cars to bypass strict emission norms in the US.
 
The fudging scandal began unfolding in the last week of September, when the European car giant said it had used a software in the US to provide false emission test results.
 
Several countries around the world and Europe had started independent inquiries to find out whether the fudging practice also took place there.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Ram

1 year ago

Its looking like a big joke. Checking vehicles should come in the second stage. In the first stage by just glancing the moving vehicles we can say they are causing pollution or not. By seizing the vehicles which are polluting even by naked eye stds, pollution will come down by half in India.

Rains, floods devastate Chennai, army rescues people
 Life in the Tamil Nadu capital was virtually crippled on Wednesday as fresh downpour worsened an already disastrous flood situation, posing danger to thousands in low-lying areas.
 
 
Soldiers joined the rescue and relief work and rescued 65 men and women till Wednesday afternoon, officials said, adding that more troops were on their way to Chennai from Bengaluru.
 
Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said in New Delhi that the situation in Chennai was "unheard of and unprecedented", and promised all help to the beleaguered city and other area.
 
Residents and officials admitted that almost everyone in Chennai, a sprawling city with over 4.6 million people, had been affected one way or the other by the devastating floods caused by torrential rains.
 
Thousands of passengers were stranded at the now shut Chennai airport and the railway stations. 
 
Electricity supply snapped in many areas. Telephone services too were hit. 
 
With schools and colleges shut, and vast areas under sheets of water, most buses went off the roads and suburban train services were suspended after waters flooded the tracks.
 
Auto-rickshaws and taxis plied in some parts of Chennai but fleeced commuters. A taxi driver reportedly charged Rs.4,500 to ferry three people from the airport to a hotel on Anna Salai, the main arterial road.
 
Several parts of Anna Salai were under water.
 
Steady rains through Tuesday night -- it continued to drizzle on Wednesday -- kept people in Chennai awake due to concerns over the rising water levels, residents said.
 
Unlike in the past, even up-market localities like Shastri Nagar, Anna Nagar, Alwarpet and Mylapore were flooded.
 
Schools and colleges have been shut for over 15 days. Schools in Chennai functioned only for two days last week before the rains hit again.
 
Hutments along the Adyar river bank have submerged till their roofs. With the river overflowing, traffic over the Adayar bridge near Saidapet was closed for safety.
 
Surplus water from Poondi reservoir, which supplies water to Chennai, was released, causing more misery. Water level in the Chembarambakkam, Puzhal and Sholavaram reservoirs have also touched the danger mark.
 
The Southern Railway cancelled 13 trains out of Egmore station and four trains from Chennai Central. Ten trains from other stations too were axed.
 
But some still dared to conduct weddings.
 
"Today is an auspicious day for marriages. In our hall a wedding was conducted as planned," K.M. Kannan, manager of the AVM Rajeshwari Kalyana Mandapam in south Chennai, told IANS.
 
But Kannan added: "I have sent my family to Erode as water was threatening to enter our house. There has been no power supply in our area since yesterday."
 
Several private establishments have declared a holiday. Some government offices were closed on Wednesday.
 
The Hindu and Business Standard newspapers did not come out on Wednesday due to heavy rains, said an employee of one of the dailies.
 
Police blocked the wide stretch of Chennai beach as a precaution.
 
According to officials, the Chennai airport has been shut till Thursday morning and all flights have been cancelled after the runway got flooded.
 
"Water entered our apartment and we had to shift to our neighbour's house on the first floor," Revathi Vasan, a resident of west Mambalam in the heart of Chennai, told IANS.
 
"Another family on the ground floor has also shifted with us," she said. "There is waist deep water around our apartment."
 
In suburban areas, flooding was severe with water levels covering ground floors and threatening to enter the first floors of housing apartments.
 
Fortunately, people living at higher levels were opening their doors to strangers, several residents told IANS. Movie theatres and malls too came to the rescue of the flood-affected.
 
Major markets like in Anna Nagar could not escape the flooding.
 
In many areas, people made makeshift boats by tying up empty barrels to reach safer places.
 
Hotels were swamped by frantic calls from residents and visitors for accommodation.
 
Suresh, who works with a private company, said: "In my area (Villivakkam), the water has reached chest level. I waded through rain water for a couple of kilometres to reach my work place."
 
The unprecedented rains, the worst in 100 years, have battered Tamil Nadu's northern districts such as Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Cuddalore.
 
In the last spell of rains, around 180 people died in the four districts.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Nature's fury and memories of tsunami in 21st Century Chennai
I came to the city after five years. My Chennai - of smiles, caring, joys and tears. I came in, despite having seen the pictures of inundated first-floors of houses on the Old Mahabalipuram Road, or OMR, now unrecognisable by the crowding of buildings and offices. This was once the great road that took you south from the city.
 
I had asked visiting family friends from Chennai last week if the whole city was flooded after the mid-November rains. They said, only South of Chennai was, generally. "They have built on the marshes", they said, and that's why OMR is flooded, sending me photographs on smart phones.
 
Aha...I had thought. In the age of technology, evidence is just one click away. To make a decision on whether to go, I now had an instant reality-check tool. 
 
When I landed at Meenambakkam, it was dry. The road department had opened up the Madhya Kailash turning towards the Governor's House - closed for several years because of the Metro Rail construction. 
 
I had been in Chennai for two days. And it was only drizzling. I decided to finish my work and then plan out the rest of the week.
 
But it rained all Monday night. Still, I set out for Fort S. George on a gray, windy morning. There was ankle-deep water before the house, just a yard away from the waiting vehicle on the road. 
 
I was going in search of history. I had planned to visit St Mary's Church in the Fort before beginning work on a new book. I remembered once going into George Town, just behind the huge musty-smelling mansions, where thousands still lived. Walking along the perimeter walls, I reached the cell-like rooms in the warren of government offices in the Fort where the documents I needed to look at were. 
 
At 9 a.m. the city looked rainwashed and fresh. But as soon as we turned into Beach Road from Adayar, the traffic started slowing. 
 
The driver said the Chembarambakkam Lake gates were open so that water could flow into the river and out to the sea. Kottur was already flooded, he said. 
 
As soon as the rains came in, we knew the city was going to get flooded. We turned into the narrow Srinivasapurum Kuppam Road, the southern extreme of the vast Marina. A gale was blowing by then and the fishermen's beach was just a narrow strip. The Marina wore a desolate look. The lingering memories of the 2004 tsunami surfaced. 
 
I took pictures on my phone to send them to my family. Looking out from the tenth floor of the Secretariat, the city looked calm and stoic at two in the afternoon. The television kept playing shots of bodies being recovered by villagers from far flung farms. By three, I decided to return. 
 
My colleagues talked of the El Nino effect. The driver said the state had not been without rain during Amma's rule, the moniker used for Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha. He meant it was a blessing. Rains during the south-west monsoon for Chennai are normal for this time of the year. But the deluge seems extraordinary, hardly a blessing. 
 
The Met Office said that there were three depressions over Sri Lanka, moving to west Indian coast via Chennai. That meant more rains. Gandhi Nagar, where I lived, was completely under water by four. The power utilities had begun cutting off electricity supply, area by area. It was dark at home. The television screen was dead.
 
We used a inverter-lit single light to work, read, charge phones and laptops. The landline phone and the wi-fi connection were off. By six o'clock my WhatsApp was full of pictures from friends, of road caving-in at Madhya Kailash and other disasters. Someone sent me a photo of the flooded airport. 
 
Thank God for smart phones, inverters and WhatsApp, I thought.
 
"Come back at once," a relative called to say. I tried to make light of the situation, saying I had yet not grown wings. I waded out in search of water and milk as a friend had called to remind us that we must store. Another picture came on the phone showing that the Indira Nagar drinking water pipe had burst, spewing a six-foot-high fountain. Water, water everywhere. 
 
South Chennai was reeling under water coming from Chembarabakkam. Amusingly, the Taramani Water Studies Institute was under shoulder-high water. They could now do all their studies in-house. 
 
I could not leave, even if I wanted to. No wonder, IT companies on OMR flew their employees every November to their Bangalore offices to meet foreign commitments. Not all had been able to do that, this time.
 
A reporter stuck on a plane ready to take off sat on the tarmac for four hours before being de-boarded, with two hundred others. The airport was closed for two days. The National Disaster Response Force troops were on the streets.
 
During dinner, we heard that the Vandaloor zoo has been breached. On the first floor we were better than those animals, I imagined them groping around in their cages for escape. I am safe and dry. A relative bought me a return ticket for four days later, hoping the plane would take off. 
 
The invertor has given up after fourteen hours. Water and milk has run out. The maids came wading, saying there were rumours that a thousand people had died in the deluge. Vast areas of standing crops had been destroyed. App-based taxi service Ola has requistioned fishing boats, turning them into taxis to ferry passengers to higher grounds.
 
The rain has stopped, but not the misery. In Nature versus Technology, there are no winners. In a modern city, we are reduced to surviving like our forefathers. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Anand Vaidya

1 year ago

Can't they store all this rainwater somewhere like in tanks, borewell recharges etc? and lay canals to divert the seasonal flood water to drier parts of TN? Then they could stop quarrelling for even more water from Kaveri (Karnataka)

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