The Punjab government informed the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday that in order to provide efficient transportation facilities to Amritsar and Ludhiana city residents, 185 buses were about to be pressed into service soon.
Of the total buses, 90 would be used by the Amritsar city transport services limited and 95 by the Ludhiana city transport services limited.
Though these buses are run by diesel, the state government has claimed that these buses are as per the BS-III emission norms which are almost equivalent to the emission levels of buses propelled by compressed natural gas (CNG).
The division bench headed by acting chief justice Ashutosh Mohunta also accepted the request made by Ashwani Kumar, state transport commissioner, to vacate its order of July 23, 2009, vide which the issue of permits to public transport buses (city buses) running on diesel within the municipal corporation limits of Ludhiana and Amritsar was stayed. But the court made it clear that as soon as CNG stations are made operational in these two cities, these buses would have to be converted to CNG.
The court was informed that since the CNG fuel stations are still not functional in Amritsar as well as Ludhiana, these new diesel buses would help bring down pollution levels in these cities.
The state government informed that in 2010, a tender was issued for 350 buses for Ludhiana and Amritsar under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Till date, 165 buses have been delivered, of which 105 are plying in Ludhiana and 60 in Amritsar for public transport.
The development took place on Monday during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by Jatinder Moudgil and others.
The petitioners had sought directions to the authorities to check auto-rickshaws, especially those running in Ludhiana by adulterating kerosene oil with the fuel, thus causing immense pollution in the already polluted city. Of the around 45,000 auto-rickshaws running in Ludhiana, hardly 12,000 are registered, the petitioners had informed.
The case would now come up for hearing on October 20.