THE STATE Transport Authority (STA) on Tuesday fixed February 28, 2007 as the deadline for replacement of all diesel/petrol-run commercial and passenger vehicles with the CNG-operated vehicles in three cities — Lucknow, Kanpur and Agra.
The transport department will take action against the diesel/petrol-operated vehicles after the deadline expired on February 28. A decision to extend the deadline was taken at an STA meeting presided over by chairman and transport commissioner RP Shukla on November 20. But it set the specific deadline to replace the vehicles only today.
Earlier, the STA had fixed November 30 as the deadline for conversion of all diesel/petrol-operated commercial and passenger vehicles into CNG ones.
However, the STA had to extend the date in view of practical problems coming in the way of availability of CNG and availability of CNG vehicles for the three cities.
According to STA secretary JA Siddiqi, while the November- deadline was approaching fast, hundreds of vehicles awaited conversion. For example, out of 2210 tempos plying in Lucknow, only 922 have so far been replaced with CNG vehicles. Besides, 1288 tempos are waiting to replaced.
Out of 1723 autos in the city, only 660 have been replaced with CNG. Likewise, in Kanpur, out of 2031 tempos, only 700 have been replaced and out of 1000 autos, only 520 have been replaced.
During the meeting, it was found that the Scooters India Ltd was able to manufacture only 500 tempos / autos a month. It had to supply the vehicles to Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra and Delhi. The two other firms are manufacturing the vehicles, but their production capacity was found to be negligible seeing the requirement. Sufficient number of CNG refilling stations were also not available in these cities, Siddiqi added.
Scooters India, on its part, said that certain equipment used in the CNG vehicles were not available in the country, and hence, it had to rely on import from other countries.
However, it promised that the company would try to increase the production to 700 autos/tempos a month.
He said the STA felt that if it stuck to the November 30 deadline for banning plying non-CNG public transport vehicles, it would create a problem for the commuters, leading to a law and order problem in the city. “Hence, it was decided to allow more time to the owners of buses, autos, tempos to switch over to CNG,” he said.
However, the sources in the transport department said the STA would be required to extend the deadline once or twice for the lack of sufficient CNG vehicles. “They are making piecemeal extension of the deadline, just to continue to keep pressure on the manufacturers, CNG providers and the vehicle owners alike,” they said.
On the other hand, the Environment and Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), set up as per the the Supreme Court direction and headed by Central Government’s secretary Bhoore Lal, has called a meeting in Delhi on December 9. It will review the progress regarding plying of CNG vehicles in Lucknow, Kanpur and Agra.