PATNA Electric vehicles in Bihar will have green number plates soon, instead of the existing yellow. Registration numbers will be in yellow or white, depending on the vehicle class: commercial or private.The state transport department has issued an order to replace the background colour of the number plates of electric-powered vehicles. This is being done with a view to promoting the use of eco-friendly vehicles to check the level of air pollution. State capital Patna was in the 12th position among the 20 most polluted cities of India in a Greenpeace survey published in January 2017. The next most polluted place in Bihar was Muzaffarpur, in 24th position, as per the survey. State transport department secretary Sanjay Kumar Agrawal said very recently that the colour of the number plates of all electric vehicles, including electric auto-rickshaws and electric motorbikes, would be changed within June. “All the district transport officers (DTOs) have been told to comply with the order in pursuance of the notified amendments to the Central Motor Vehicle rules 1989,” said Agrawal.An estimated 15,000 electric vehicles, including battery-operated motorbikes, are on Bihar roads now, and 6,000 of these are running in Patna. The department is in the process of finalising a long-term strategy to phase out fossil fuel-powered auto-rickshaws in the next few years. Officials said that about 50% of the current number of diesel- and petrol-driven auto-rickshaws were expected to go off the roads in Bihar in the next couple of years.A senior officer said that a special drive would be launched to sensitise owners of electric vehicles for the replacement of number plates. The change in colour would make it easy for the vehicles to pass through the routine pollution check for vehicles. “They do not cause noise or air pollution. Hence such vehicles need not pass through pollution checks,” he added.Secretary Agrawal said that the government’s bid to bring down ambient air pollution would get massive support from the auto dealers, as they were introducing battery-operated vehicles and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in the capital city. “Many noted companies dealing in battery-operated two-wheelers have shown a keen interest in launching their vehicles in Patna,” he said.District transport officer Ajay Kumar Thakur said that the government had already given a 50% tax concession to electric vehicles. “The road tax for e-rickshaws is around Rs 5,000 per annum, against Rs 10,000 for diesel- or petrol-run auto-rickshaws. There are around 6,000 e-rickshaws registered in Patna, of which most run in the town areas,” said Thakur.