New Delhi: The Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) today observed that auto dealers were resorting to “fake sales” of BS-III models to circumvent the ban on their registration from tomorrow.

The issue came up during a meeting of the Supreme Court-appointed body involving officials of Delhi and NCR states and representatives of the auto industry. “Dealers are selling BS-III vehicles to their relatives in bulk. Basically these fake sales are being done to ensure that they can be registered when they are resold to customers,” an EPCA member said. However, the state governments assured the panel that circumventing the ban was difficult and that the existing registration mechanism was “nearly foolproof”. “Currently, after purchase of each vehicle, sales tax has to be paid and that has to be registered online. So in case of BS-III vehicles sold till March 31, the regional transport authorities will check whether tax was paid before registering it,” an Uttar Pradesh government official said.

Delhi claimed it has a similar mechanism in place. Haryana, which does not have any online mechanism, also assured the EPCA it would not allow any dodging of norms. The EPCA also said the auto manufacturers will have to apprise the Supreme Court on what they have done to their BS-III inventories, which the industry claims stands at around 8 lakh.

The states were asked to submit a report on the registration done on or after April 1. To exhaust their stock, two-wheeler majors are offering discounts of up to Rs 22,000 to sell as many units as possible before the deadline imposed by the Supreme Court comes into force. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) had earlier informed the apex court that the companies were holding stock of around 8.24 lakh vehicles, which are not BS-IV compliant, including 96,000 commercial vehicles, over six lakh two-wheelers and around 40,000 three-wheelers. According to industry estimates, the total value of the impacted vehicles is between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 crore.

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