Chandigarh auto drivers call off strike

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, SAS Nagar
  • Updated: Nov 03, 2014 23:05 IST

The four-day strike by diesel auto drivers was called off on Monday, after the Chandigarh administration assured them of reviewing the decision to ban diesel autos in Chandigarh after March 31.

The promise comes after SAS Nagar deputy commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu was forced to intervene in the matter following a protest held in the Phase-7 Circus Ground.

Sidhu then spoke to Chandigarh State Transport Authority asking them to resolve the issue. "The Chandigarh STA has promised that the matter would be resolved amicably and their demand would be looked into," he said.

Later in the day, the police accompanied 11 protesters to the Chandigarh STA where the two sides had a discussion.

The auto unions of Panchkula and SAS Nagar have also assured the Chandigarh administration of complying with the directions issued pertaining to plying of diesel three wheelers in the city.

The Chandigarh administration has allowed the Bharat Stage III (BSIII) diesel autos registered in Panchkula and SAS Nagar to ply in the city till March 31.
UT transport secretary Bhawana Garg said that both unions have assured the administration that only Bharat Stage 3 (BS 3) autos would enter the city.

There are nearly 5,500 Bharat Stage 3 autos registered in SAS Nagar and Panchkula.

"The administration could consider allowing Bharat Stage 3 autos to ply in the city after March 31, 2015, if the auto drivers comply with the laid down norms for safety and environment," said Garg.

A recent survey conducted by CPCC has cited diesel autos to be the main cause of increase in air pollution levels in the city. UT environment department director Santosh Kumar said that while the Respirable Suspended particulate Matter (RSPM) levels exceeded the permissible limit in the city.
"We have to phase out diesel autos to protect our environment," said Santosh Kumar.

The administration has deployed more traffic cops to man the entry points to the city to ensure that non-Bharat Stage 3 autos do not enter. DSP (traffic) Pardeep Kumar said that since November 1, 327
diesel autos have been fined while 91 have been impounded.

"Chandigarh traffic police and STA will strictly enforce all safety norms," said the DSP.

Subsidy for LPG auto operators

In order to encourage auto drivers to convert to LPG, the Chandigarh administration has decided to provide a subsidy of `15,000 for the LPG auto rickshaws purchased and registered with the UT state transport authority (STA).

Garg said the subsidy will be credited directly to account of the LPG rickshaw buyer after a year of registration. LPG dealers have also agreed to bear the cost of registration.

UT secretary STA Satish Kumar Jain said Punjab National Bank has also agreed to disburse loans for the purchase of LPG Auto rickshaws at lower rate of interest.

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