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Small cars sale resume in Assam 

Auto dealers of Assam can heave a sigh of relief with the state transport commissioner directing district transport officers to allow registration and sale of small cars that conform to the Bureau of Indian Standards and are certified by the Automotive Research Association of India. Gauhati High Court, through an interim order dated June 26, had directed the Centre not to permit  auto-manufacturers to release and sell  small four-wheelers having a mass lesser than  1500 kg  and seats below 8 following  a PIL file  which  claimed the cars in North-East  should conform to ENCAP( European New Car Assessment Program ) crash and emission test norms as the region is mountainous.

The order has affected 16 automobile companies. The sales and registration of popular models such as Alto, I 10,Eon,Honda Jazz has been stopped in Assam by the department of Assam State Transport citing the court order. The move came as blow for the car companies which are trying to boost sale in sluggish automotive market that grew 7% in the first four months of this financial year after 2 consecutive years of decline. 12% of the countrys’ sales are contributed by North-East and Assam is the largest market in North-East, a region where more than 5000 vehicles have sold. A dealer said he could not describe the torment auto -dealers had gone through in Assam. “Not only were stocks worth crores blocked, more than 50,000 employees in the industry here feared that they had lost their livelihood,”he said. On a petition filed by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM)  challenging the Assam  State  Transport`s decision the court  said  on 26th August “There  cannot be any prohibition restricting registration and sales of four-wheelers with a mass of up to 1,500 kg  and quadricycles  that have  undergone the crash  and emission tests conforming to the  requirements and standards set by  the Bureau of Indian Standards and vehicles which have been certified  by the statutory authority.”

J Balaji, then transport commissioner said the restriction had been withdrawn following a subsequent Gauhati High Court order and also after receiving a communication from the Attorney General of India. With the festive season round the corner the sales and registration of vehicles have resumed across Assam and 200 cars have already been sold and registered across Assam since 1st September.


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