The SAS Auto Driver Union staged a protest at Sector 17 against the decision of Chandigarh administration to ban the entry of diesel run autos in the city from November 1.
Nearly 2,000 auto drivers gathered at Sector 17 Circus Ground and raised anti-administration slogans. A delegation of the union also met state transport authority (STA) secretary Satish Kumar Jain.
Joginder Singh, president of the union, said they had requested the administration to lift the ban. The union threatened to block entry points to the city from Panchkula and SAS Nagar on November 1 if their demand was not fulfilled.
The STA has decided to strengthen its enforcement wing to curb the entry of illegal diesel autos in the city from November 1.
There are around 500 diesel autos registered with the STA. In the past few years, the number of diesel autos has grown manifold. Around 10,000 diesel autos, most of these bearing registration numbers of Haryana and Punjab enter the city daily.
For enforcing the ban, the STA has hired more motor vehicle inspectors (MVIs). Earlier, the STA had just two MVIs. They will be deployed at the entry points of the city from Haryana and Punjab to check entry of diesel autos registered with Punjab and Haryana.
The administration has tied up with Punjab National Bank (PNB) for providing finance for LPG autos. The bank has agreed to provide loan at lower rate of interest. The STA has also worked out the modalities with the finance department to provide subsidy ranging from `15,000 to `25,000 to those purchasing LPG autos.
It was in 2002 that the Supreme Court had issued directions for the conversion of all public vehicles, including petrol and diesel-driven buses, taxis and three-wheelers, to those run by compressed natural gas (CNG). Later, in 2009 the apex court ordered for preparation of a scheme for compulsory switchover to CNG or LPG as automotive fuel. Subsequently, to make the city pollution-free, the administration had issued an order for phasing out diesel autos by August 8, 2009, but the direction was not enforced.