The Supreme Court, which
in October banned the use of petroleum coke in and around New Delhi in a bid to
clean the air in one of the world's most polluted cities, on Monday deferred a
scheduled hearing on a case on its use across the country to Wednesday.
India is the world's biggest consumer of petroleum coke, better known as petcoke,
which is a dark solid carbon material that emits 11 percent more greenhouse
gases than coal, according to the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.
Burning it also emits several times more sulphur dioxide, which causes lung
diseases and acid rain.
Local producers include Indian Oil Corp, Reliance Industries and Bharat PetroleumCorp.
The oil ministry has also told the Supreme Court that petcoke should only be
used as feedstock, like in the cement industry, and not as fuel.
A country-wide import ban would require replacing 14 million tonnes of petcoke
a year with 24 million to 31 million tonnes of coal, according to industry
calculations, most of which would have to be imported.