Diesel autos in Patna to be phased out by January 31, 2021
After banning plying of all commercial vehicles older than 15 years in Patna in a bid to check pollution, the Bihar government on Wednesday decided to phase out diesel-run auto-rickshaws from the state capital and surrounding urban areas by March 2021.
Diesel autos in municipal areas of Patna will be banned completely by January 31, 2021 and in other urban pockets like Danapur, Khagaul and Phulwari Sharif by March 31 the same year.
The decision was taken at the state cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday.
The decision to phase out the most pollution-emitting vehicles was taken in view of the growing contamination of ambient air, which has deteriorated to the worst level in Patna and a few other cities this season.
Transport secretary Sanjay Kumar Agrawal said the government had, however, come out with a policy to dole out financial incentives up to Rs 40,000 for those auto and taxi owners who were willing to switch to green energy like compressed natural gas (CNG) or battery.
The policy envisages that a one-time grant of Rs 40,000 would be offered to each owner for replacing their diesel/petrol autos with CNG kits. Those opting for retrofitting of their existing petrol auto with CNG kit will get a grant of Rs 20,000 for each unit. However, all auto owners, who wished to switch over to electric vehicles, would be given Rs 25,000 as grant. The incentive is for seven-seater autos only.
The government has also proposed to offer Rs 20,000 as grant to each commercial motor taxi which opts for CNG retrofitting.
Agrawal said the ban on old commercial vehicles and the decision to phase out diesel autos had been enforced only in Patna and its adjoining urban areas. “They can run in other areas of the state without any issues,” he clarified.
In another decision, the state government has decided to offer financial assistance of Rs 65 crore to the Centre for Development of Advance Computing to set up its research and development centre in Patna to help digital transformation of the state.
The cabinet also gave its nod for raising the dearness allowance (DA) to pensioners and serving staff of the state government, who are still taking their salaries as per the recommendations of the fifth and sixth pay commissions. Now, those getting their salaries as per the fifth pay commission will be getting 312% DA instead of existing 295% of the basic pay. Similarly, DA of those getting salary as per the sixth pay commission would be raised to 164% from the existing level of 154%.
The cabinet also approved modification in the procedure for grant of the CM’s Old Age pension scheme. Principal secretary, cabinet secretariat department, Dipak Prasad, said now age and address of the beneficiaries can be verified with the help of Aadhaar and election photo identity cards.