Indian minister criticises 'criminal' SUVs

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Indy Lifestyle Online

India's environment minister attacked the use of large gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles (SUVs) on Indian roads as "criminal" on Friday, the Press Trust of India reported.

At a UN workshop on low-carbon transport in India, Jairam Ramesh called for minimum fuel efficiency standards and said his country should overhaul its subsidy system for diesel, after deregulating petrol prices in June.

"The use of vehicles like SUVs and BMW in countries like India is criminal," Ramesh said.

"We have reformed policy as far as petrol is concerned. We are yet to reform as far as the net effect of diesel subsidy is concerned."

He added that the diesel subsidy primarily benefited owners of expensive cars, and not ordinary people.

Ramesh said the transport sector's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions were expected to reach 15 percent by 2030.

"We are worried and we are looking at how to control these emissions from transport sector. For this to happen, there should be mandatory fuel efficiency standards," he said.

Since his appointment last year, Ramesh has carved out a reputation as a green crusader, most recently denying environmental clearances to the Britain-based mining company Vedanta Resources in August.

He dismissed the prospect of electric cars as a viable option for Indian commuters because of electricity shortages across the country.

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