Ranchi district administration on Thursday launched a fresh crackdown on diesel-run autos in Jharkhand capital following a high court ban on issuance of fresh permits to them on Wednesday.
However, the diesel auto associations threatened a series of protests against the move from December 20.
The Jharkhand high court on Wednesday banned the issuance of new permits to diesel-run autos within the limits of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) and directed authorities to seize polluting and unauthorized diesel autos.
The Supreme Court, on the same day, had banned registration of new diesel-guzzling luxury cars and SUVs with an engine capacity of 2000 cc and above until March 31 in Delhi.
“We are taking action on the diesel autos plying without permit or pollution and fitness certificates within the RMC limit,” Ranchi traffic superintendent Manoj Ratan Chothe told Hindustan Times. Traffic police fined and detained several such vehicles from New Market and Kantatoli areas.
Ranchi administration had issued permits to 3,335 autos to ply within the RMC limit. But, more than 10,000 diesel-autos ply in the state capital without permits, according to Jharkhand state diesel auto drivers association (JSDADA). Heavy rush of illegal autos not only causes major traffic jams every day but also pollutes the city air.
“Diesel autos are major contributors to the pollution of the city. A diesel-run auto pollute the environment seven times more than the petrol-run auto after a few years of their operation on roads,” said city based environmentalist, Nitish Priyadrashi.
He said that Ranchi air showed 9,000 nanograms of black carbon particles per day against the permission range of 600 to 1,500 nanograms due to vehicular pollution. “Shrinking greenery and increasing concretization have already deteriorated air quality of the city,” Priyadarshi said.
The HC had also directed the deputy commissioner and oil companies to set up three auto-gas (LPG) outlets in Ranchi to promote environment-friendly public vehicles. The state government is, however, encouraging the e-rickshaws in the city to deal with the vehicular pollution.
The diesel auto association has protested the administration’s move saying that it would create livelihood problem for more than 10,000 families. “Where the auto drivers would go now. Their families are being compelled to go hungry,” said JSDADA convener Dinesh Soni. He said that government should ban the registration of diesel autos if they were polluting the city.
“We will start our agitation with burning transport minister’s effigy on December 20 and sit on fast unto death on December 24. If government did not listen to our voice, we will go for Chakka Jam from December 28,” Soni said.